EYES ON OLYMPICS: Gympie's Randy Bowman enjoys his first time on the ice at Lake Placid, New York for luge.
EYES ON OLYMPICS: Gympie's Randy Bowman enjoys his first time on the ice at Lake Placid, New York for luge. Nancie Battaglia

Olympic dream in sights for Gympie student

LUGE: At the start of this year Randy Bowman had never heard of the sport luge and now he is aiming for the third Youth Winter Olympics.

"Mrs Flynn (Karen) asked if I wanted to try it and it looked like fun. I like different challenges,” he said.

"The sports I play are more physical and this is more mental.”

This will be Bowman's first youth Olympics and the St Patrick's College student is aspiring to one day represent Australia at the Olympics.

"It is a great feeling of going down the track sliding with all the adrenaline,” he said.

Randy, athlete/slider at Aussie Luge development camp on ice in Lake Placid NY, April 2019. photo by Nancie Battaglia
Randy, athlete/slider at Aussie Luge development camp on ice in Lake Placid NY, April 2019. photo by Nancie Battaglia Nancie Battaglia

"I had never tried this sport before. It is a different experience with different strength needed, both mental and physical,” he said.

"Hopefully, I can continue with it to adulthood and compete at the Olympics.”

The 14-year-old went to Lake Placid, New York last month to train for luge and said it was quite an experience.

With no snow in Gympie and having to train on a sled with wheels, this was his first training session on ice.

"The first time on the ice was really scary and full on. I was very nervous the day before,” he said.

"When you get out there you lose the butterflies and you want to do it more and more.”

Australia has only had a handful of athletes compete in luge and only four Olympians, but coach Flynn said there was potential and hopefully he would stick with the sport.

"He is still very new to luge and this season will be an experience, it will be a fast introduction,” she said.

Randy Bowman, athlete/slider at Aussie Luge development camp on ice in Lake Placid NY, April 2019 with the Australian Flag.
Randy Bowman, athlete/slider at Aussie Luge development camp on ice in Lake Placid NY, April 2019 with the Australian Flag.

"It is a sport that you don't know you like it until you do it. We do as much wheel training but you have to experience it on ice.”

Flynn has been training Bowman for a few months and she said his confidence was his biggest improvement.

"It is a mental sport and you need to be tough and I think Randy has that bit of toughness in him,” she said.

"Confidence can make a big difference, you have to be confident. The fear when you get out there can make you tense up and it is not a good thing.

"He needs to work on his positioning. He is learning to be relaxed, laying back and with his feet nice and high. But that comes with time and experience.”

As the Olympians might make it look easy, Flynn said luge was very technical and much harder than it looked on television.

"People see luge every four years on television and they (athletes) make it look so easy. Most people think it's like a water slide,” she said.

"The athletes are actually steering 98 per cent of the time and one mistake then you end up on your face. They steer with their shoulders and legs. They have to keep their head down because they will lose speed if they lift it.

"You have to visualise the track in your mind and anticipate each move in less than half a second.”

Bowman will travel to Europe in October to train for Junior World Cup races in November/December and earn points to qualify for the Olympics.

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