2022 Beijing Olympics – Bobsleigh – 4-man Official Training – National Sliding Centre, Beijing, China – February 17, 2022. Edson Luques Bindilatti of Brazil and teammates in action during training. REUTERS/Edgar Su
February 17, 2022
By David Kirton
YANQING, China (Reuters) – Brazilian pilot Edson Luques Bindilatti is having a great time in training ahead of what will be the last race of his 20-year Olympic career, and is preparing to guide the next generation in the sport.
Bindilatti’s team was making its fourth training run on Thursday ahead of the four-man bobsleigh event, the finale of the sliding competition on Saturday and Sunday.
A former decathlon athlete, his bobsleigh career began in 2000 when Eric Maleson, founder of Brazil’s ice sports federation and its first pilot, invited him to try out for the South American nation’s first Olympic bobsleigh performance in Salt Lake City in 2002.
At that time Bindilatti had never seen ice. Maleson told him to watch the 1993 Disney classic ‘Cool Runnings’ to learn what the sport is about.
Now 42, the Brazilian pilot was relishing training for his last race.
“Every run I enjoy too much, because it’s my last Olympic season,” he said after training.
“Bobsleigh is a beautiful sport and I love it so much. I don’t know how I’ll feel during the race, but my guys are so strong and so prepared for this competition. We’re excited to make a big result for Brazil.”
While Germany has remained dominant across events and looks set to extend its run later this week, Bindilatti said progress has been made in opening the sport to more countries.
“This sport needs to grow more for small countries, because you see today, the big advantage others have. We need to involve more countries for this sport, make more opportunities for more athletes, more people, and make this sport more competitive.”
He is hoping to take on that mission himself after the race, hopefully by becoming Brazil’s coach or a coach for other countries.
A push track is also being built in Sao Paolo, where other South American countries will be invited to train, he said.
“The track is not finished yet, we need a little bit more money. But day by day, hopefully in April, we’ll complete it. Let’s see.”
Erick Gilson Vianna Jeronimo, one of the four-man crew, will take the pilot reins from next month.
“We’re excited. He’s a horse for the push, let’s see for the drive. Hopefully we’ll have a big team for the next Olympic Games. These guys are young, hopefully they will continue for Brazil, this is our plan.”
(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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