- 09 Feb 2014
Youth Olympic Games athletes off to a flying start
YOG athletes put on their best performances on day one of competition of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games yesterday.
Starting with lugers Alexander Ferlazzo (AUS) and Tucker West (USA), both made it through the men’s single runs 1 and 2 putting them through to the second round of heats later on today at the Sanki Sliding Centre.
Just after the competition Young Reporter Sonali Prasad caught up with Alex, who was beaming with happiness after his performance on day one.
"Half a second faster than any of the runs in my training, so that's all I can ask for," the luger smiled.
This young Australian had seen very little snow before he took up luge.
"Oh, I really don't remember. I think before I took up luge, I saw snow once in Australia, and even that was man-made," he smiled.
"I belong to tropical north Queensland. It's all about your longboard when the surf is up! You mention luge and you will see eyeballs rolling."
But all thanks to an athletic mother and a pilates lesson.
"My mother met a former luge athlete and the Recruitment and Development Manager for Luge Australia in her pilates class. And that's how the buck rolled."
Fast-forward to now, Ferlazzo has travelled and competed on tracks all over the world. He represented Australia at the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012, finishing a creditable 19th, and later that year made history by winning bronze in a Junior World Cup – Australia’s first ever medal at this level.
All this despite no snow and training on a dry downhill track with sleds fitted with wheels.
"I had no idea what I was aiming for and I hadn't looked at anybody else's times. I was just here to see what I could do, and I am happy with it so far. I saw my time coming up to the end of my first run and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. All I want to do is complete all my runs with no regrets."
From longboard to luge, this is one creative athlete who hasn’t let anything stop him chasing his dreams!
Tucker West also made it successfully through the luge heats, while athlete Andreas Wellinger (GER) succeeded in the ski jumping qualification round.