Whistler’s Reid Watts said his invitation to join the Canadian Junior National Luge Team last week was unexpected, but now he’s excited to get going.
“I honestly had no clue, and then one of my teammates told me 10 minutes before the meeting we had where the team would be named that I was sitting in first place overall,” said Watts.
While unexpected, Watts has definitely put his time in. He was one of the first kids in Whistler to take part in one of the luge identification camps held before the 2010 Games, and at the age of 14 he’s already a six-year veteran of the sport.
He’s also been training hard — six days a week, with about six runs on the track during every two-hour training session. He’s been spending time in the gym as well, and in the summer was sometimes training twice a day for two hours a session.
Watts said his goal is to make the national team for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, working with sports psychologist Greg McDonnell to set goals and milestones.
Although the sport can be demanding and crashes happen, Watts said it’s all worth it. “When you have a good, clean run, just the feeling you get at the bottom of the track is great — that’s what did it for me, for sure,” he said.
Training at Whistler Sliding Centre also made a difference for Watts.
“I think that’s going to be a huge advantage, because a lot of the tracks we’re visiting are a little easier or a little slower — they’re more technical, so it’s still going to be hard,” he said.
Watts said it took a lot of support to get to the national team, and thanked everyone who supported him.
“I just wanted to say a huge thanks to Matt McMurray and all my coaches, my parents, the track crew for keeping the track in prime condition and everybody at Canadian Sports Institute for helping me to achieve my goals.”
Watts is only the second B.C. athlete to be named to the program, following in the footsteps of Pemberton slider Jenna Spencer.
Watts will be joining the national junior team as they head to Europe for three competitions in Germany, followed by the Junior World Championships at Igls, Austria. You can follow Watts online at www.luge.ca.