Chinese Taipei luger Lien takes the hard road to PyeongChang
Snow is hard to find in Chinese Taipei, so Lien Te-an has had to hit the road – quite literally – to polish his skills ahead of the luge event.
With little snow in his homeland and no proper luge tracks, Lien speeds down mountain highways in the eastern county of Yilan on a wheeled sled when not training abroad.
Reaching speeds of 105 kilometres per hour, it can be a white-knuckle ride for Lien but also startling for car and truck drivers when the 23-year-old whizzes past them while lying on his sled.
We take off the steels (blades) and put on the wheels and we can train everywhere,” he said. “The cars will often stop to take a look at what's going on. When we're training, we organise people to do some traffic management to make it safer. There will be people along the road up and down the mountains using walkie-talkies.”
Competing in his second Olympic Games, Lien will carry Taiwan's flag during the Opening Ceremony, leading a small delegation of four athletes – three of them speed skaters.
Few of his compatriots back home knew much about luge, or many of the other winter sports, said Lien, but he is determined to raise their profile while improving on his 39th placing at Sochi 2014.
“This time I got more experience because in 2014 in Sochi, it was my first time in the Olympic Games and I was so really nervous,” Lien said. “But this time I spent four years to get more confidence, to get more experience and also courage.”