Racer on a path of self-discovery

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Not all athletes are focused on winning.

Jeff Pain, the World Cup skeleton champion, is more concerned with simply bettering himself rather than grabbing as many gold medals as possible.

Although, finishing first on more than one occasion helps this philosophy make sense.

"I'm not motivated to win actually," said Pain yesterday while kicking off the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships at Canada Olympic Park.

"I'm motivated to do well and learn about myself. And the venue I choose to do that in is skeleton.

"The gold medals are fun, I love to win them. There's no question it's an amazing feeling but the more I learn about myself the better legacy I'm going to get to leave to my kids by teaching them how to be winners in there life too."

Pain, 33, is the heavy favourite to win the world championship crown after recently capturing the overall World Cup title a week ago in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Along with teammate Duff Gibson, both Calgary residents, Pain is the leader of a very strong skeleton squad that will be expected to pick up medals in next year's Olympics in Turin, Italy.

For now, though, Pain is happy to be home to finish the season on his home track.

"Having the world championships here in Calgary is a great honour," he said.

"I'm looking forward to a low-stress, fun week, if that's possible."

Joining the skeleton team are the bobsledders, led by Olympic champion Pierre Lueders, who will compete in both the two-man and four-man events.

Dual bobsled kicks off the world championships Friday, while skeleton starts Sunday and four-man bobsled goes all next weekend, starting Friday, Feb. 25.

Winning the world championships, especially at home, would be a great thrill for Pain. Although, he admits capturing the season title was probably more satisfying for the veteran slider.

"The biggest thrill for me was the overall because that says I was good all year," he explained.

"I didn't just have a good weekend, which can happen with the world championships.

"That's not to say the person who wins the championship isn't a good slider but consistency is probably the greatest challenge that I face for sure."

Pain and his teammates are familiar with the COP track but he is adamant they need to remain focused if they expect to beat some of the planet's best sliders.

"Of course, we have the expectation here to win because it's our track," he said.

" But my experience has been the hardest place to win is at home because of those pressures and because everyone else is gunning for you.

"It's easy to get complacent here because I can go down in my sleep essentially. The challenge is to consistently look for the fastest way down and at home sometimes that can be really hard."


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