Dutch quit over track fears

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

WHISTLER, B.C. - Fear of one of the quickest, trickiest sliding tracks in the world has gotten the better of a timid Dutch bobsled team.

The four-man Netherlands squad has withdrawn from their competition, which is scheduled to begin at the Whistler Sliding Centre Friday.

“For me, it’s not about performing, it’s about surviving,” said Dutch pilot Edwin Van Calker. “Last year we had two brakemen in the hospital (after crashing on the track.)

“Some say it is a brave decision, some say scared. I have to look after my boys and can’t close my eyes to that.”

Van Calker said that during the two-man event, he had trouble keeping the sled on the track through turns 11, 12 and 13. It’s an area that has athletes across all sliding sports struggling.

Reaction has been mixed to the decision. Most athletes who completed in bobsled will tell you that if you have a fear of speed you should probably find a new pursuit.

“I’ve never seen someone get to a major event and not compete because they’re scared,” Netherlands coach Tom de La Hunty said. “You keep your inner fears to yourself and do it.

“In my view, he still could have driven the track and overcome his fear to do it.”

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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