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Mata readies Bobsleigh team in the push to Pyeongchang

10 February 2017

BOBSLEIGH: The Australian bobsleigh team, led by pilot Lucas Mata, are making their final preparations before heading to Pyeongchang for the Olympic Test event in March.

With the 2016/17 World Cup season coming to a close, Mata and his team are setting their sights on the track where he hopes to make his second Olympic appearance.

The 28-year-old made his Olympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Games as a brakeman for Heath Spence in the men's 4-Man Bobsleigh crew. Alongside Spence, Duncan Harvey and Gareth Nichols, the Aussies finished 22nd.

For Mata however, the road to Pyeongchang 2018 began the moment he was handed the brakes.

“The real work began the moment I stepped into the driver’s seat in 2014.”, Mata said.

“I knew it's what I wanted to do and knew that I wanted to go to the Games in 2018.” 

The 2014 Olympian has been joined by fellow Aussies Lachlan Reidy, David Mari and Chris Gudzowsky.

Despite enjoying some success in North America in the 2-man event, the Perth local has his sights firmly set on the 4-man format.

“I enjoy both but 4-man is the blue-ribbon event of the Winter Games and I love having all the boys in the sled with me.”

“But an Australian bobsleigh team is never going to be easy work.”

“I need the boys over here to push as a team more, so having them spread over Australia during our prep is hard as for us to push better we need to all be together.”

The team will need to function as one unit, and Mata knows the importance of training together.

“Coming from being a brakeman at the last Games, I saw the team click when we spent a few weeks together at the icehouse in Germany.

“We will all be together as of July this year in prep for the Games so we can get the best product on ice.”

The Olympic Test in March, which doubles as a World Cup event, will be the first glimpse of Alpensia Sliding Centre for the competitors.

Mata is relishing the opportunity.

“The track will give us a great insight on how long the start is, whether weight is a big issue and how to drive the track.

“It'll be exciting as everyone will be on a level playing field over the training week and World Cup until people start to figure the track out.”

With only one year until the real thing, the 28-year-old plans to make every day count.

“All teams will come out firing and I know we can too.

“But we need to all be together for this to happen so the plan is to set up a base in Calgary from July onwards until we walk into that opening ceremony.”

Leaving nothing to chance in his bid for a second Olympic Games.

Lucas and his team will next compete at Alpensia Sliding Centre, South Korea in the Olympic Test event commencing on the 18th of March.

Nathan Lange

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