Men’s Start Sigulda, Latvia
So Ruben… How does someone from hot and steamy Houston end up competing in the Winter Olympics in the luge?
When I was 21 I saw Scott Hamilton win the gold medal in figure skating at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Hamilton is only 5 foot 1. I said to myself, If that little guy can do it I can too. I’ll be in the next Olympics. I was always very perseverant. I chose the luge cause I thought, “Looks like a lot of broken bones. There must be a lot of quitters. I just won’t quit.” I wrote Sports Illustrated to find out where the luge track was. They said, Lake Placid, NY. I went to Lake Placid and took up the sport. It was brutal. First 2 years I was crashing 4 out of 5 times. I broke a bunch of bones but I kept coming back. By the 3rd year I was crashing 1 out of a hundred times. Then I started competing internationally and I was able to make the Olympic qualification standard – top 50 in the world. I got to compete in four Olympics – Calgary, Albertville, Salt Lake City and Vancouver.
So… what’s it feel like to hurl yourself down an icy mountain at 90 MPH? Is it scary?
Brutal. You’re on the edge the whole time. I was so scared, I “white-knuckled” it for 25 years. You hit 95 MPH on some tracks. Pull up to 6 G forces in the curves. I don’t recommend it.