Bronte Local Takes Olympic Challenge Lying Down
The vast majority of Eastern Suburbs residents are most probably looking forward to spending the warmer months lying on a beach towel in the sun, and while Bronte local and Beast deliverer Nick Mides also plans on being prone when the Australian summer hits, the temperatures where he is heading won’t be quite so toasty nor the mood as relaxing.
Since 2010, Mides has been spending his summers on the other side of the world learning the art of the luge. His goal is to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.
“I started luge in 2010 and have had approximately six months of ‘on ice’ training,” Mides told The Beast.
“I always wanted to give it a go, and I was curious what it felt like to go down the ice on a track at 140km/h. I was watching the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and one of the commentators said they were looking for more athletes, so I sent an email off to Luge Australia and it all took off from there.”
To qualify for Sochi, Mides needs to race in the five World Cups of the first half of this season and qualify in the top 38 under Olympic seeding (Olympic seeding takes the top three athletes from each country). It’s a big ask, but by no means an impossibility.
Of course sliding down a tube of ice at 140km/h is not without its risks, especially for someone relatively new to the sport.
“I’ve had many crashes, but most of them don’t hurt, physically as least. Often the ego is more damaged. They are generally just flipping the sled and sliding down the track on your butt or stomach.
“I have had two that really hurt. The worst was when I missed the entrance of a corner and flipped onto the roof of it and landed on my head. That ended in a mild concussion and a headache for the day,” Mides said.
Mides also said it was quite an expensive pursuit, with his tilt at Olympic qualification costing him over $10,000, even after receiving some allowances from the International Luge Federation.
So when you’re lying in the sun this summer, spare a thought for Nick Mides as he braves the cold to chase his Winter Olympics dream.