Patrick Edmunds slides his way to inaugural Youth Games
December 27, 2011
To 17-year-old Patrick Edmunds, qualifying for the first ever Youth Winter Olympic Games is a big deal, but the Park City resident said he aims to remain cool and collected in the few weeks before walks on the biggest stage of his life.
Edmunds and his driver, Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah, qualified for the inaugural games in Innsbruck, Austria, in doubles luge on Dec. 12. Last season, the pair picked up a bronze medal in the Austria Junior World Cup.
"It was kind of expected," Edmunds said of the inclusion. "But we’re really happy we did get in. To hear, and confirm we’re going, was special."
In three junior World Cups this season, the pair has finished ninth twice in Park City and seventh in Calgary.
"Not too bad," Edmunds said. "We weren’t really happy with our standing, but we were satisfied."
Looking back on his sliding career, the 6-foot-1 Parkite said he never expected to become so involved with such a unique sport. At age 12, he enrolled in a Utah Olympic Park Fundamentals Camp that included a slew of different sports, including hockey, skeleton, ice skating and a dryland luge camp on wheels.
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"A coach was looking for kids to come out during sledding and, apparently, I did well enough," Edmunds said. "Then I did well enough in the winter and have been sledding from the club to development-team level, and then where I’m at now."
Edmunds said he’s excited that the games are in Innsbruck and Igls, a track he and Andersen are familiar with.
"Igls is an easy track," he said. "It’s kind of hard to go fast on Igls, kind of the same as the track here. We just have to make sure everything is perfect on our run, to make sure you don’t lose that thousandth or hundredth."
Asked if he expects the level of competition to increase for him and Andersen, Edmunds acknowledged that they’ll be on a worldwide stage against the best young sliders in the world but he said they won’t be fazed.
"We think it’s going to be the same as a World Cup feel; we’re just going to make some other changes and figure out the way it’s done," he said. "We’re comfortable."
"Not only did they race well for themselves, but their excellent performances also allowed the USA to qualify a full contingent of sleds for the event," said Ron Rossi, USA Luge CEO and executive director, in a release. "The group’s excellent performances leading up to the announcement now allow us to look forward to the actual competition with high hopes for all of the races. Just as important, we hope each athlete takes the time to enjoy the total experience as the Austrians have a great reputation for hosting major winter sporting events, including the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, along with a host of World Cup and World Championship events in many sports over the years."
Aside from luge, Edmunds is an avid martial-arts enthusiast and enjoys longboarding in the summer.