With the sporting world’s eyes on Sochi and the 2014 Winter Olympics, one local athlete may be well on his way to making the legacy of the 2010 Games pay dividends for Squamish.
Luger Nicky Klimchuk-Brown might be only 14, but he’s already competed and excelled against competitors four years older than him. He recently finished 25th at the Luge Junior World Championships in Austria and has won several B.C. and Canada Cup races.
But it might all come down to the fact that Klimchuk-Brown just really likes to go fast.
“The fastest I’ve gone is 139.97 kilometres per hour,” he said, with a smile on his face. “I was just so close to 140 but it still felt great. I just really like the feeling you get when the air goes past you so fast.”
The Squamish resident got involved in the sport seven years ago when his mother saw a poster for a luge summer recruitment camp. From there, he began to make trips to Calgary to learn at the luge track there, as the one in Whistler hadn’t been completed yet.
“Those first few years were sort of getting familiar with all the equipment and learning how to manoeuvre the sled down the track,” he said. “Probably when I turned 12 was when I realized I was pretty good. Instead of being third or fourth all the time, I was first place the entire year. That was enjoyable.”
He said he also plays team sports but there’s something about being inside the sled.
“I love having that time alone going down the track,” he said.
Strength in the upper back and arms are important for lugers to succeed, but breathing and head positioning are also extremely important. Klimchuk-Brown said he’s also followed the career of Canadian luger Sam Edney and watches him for technique tips.
Between time on the track, Klimchuk-Brown attends school at the new Coast Mountain Academy (CMA) and he said it’s been a great fit.
“Instead of asking can you do this, they ask what can you do,” he said of the school. “They offer a lot of flexibility with my school work, which helps when I’m away. I can catch up more easily and it’s worked out great.”
David Baird, the CMA head of school, said Klimchuk-Brown is the type of student that can really benefit from attending the school.
“We’re proud of what he does and proud of being able to structure school for him so he can manage it,” Baird said. “He’s a great role model for our students and how you can have a passion and manage school at the same time. A lot of our younger students look up to him and the older students like to follow his progress.”
Klimchuk-Brown said his ultimate goal is to represent Canada in the Olympics but first up is the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Norway in 2016. He also still has provincial and national races coming up in both Whistler and Calgary later this month.
For more information on Klimchuk-Brown, visit www.nickyklimchuk-brown.com.