Monday, April 6, 2009

Bye Bye Lake Placid Hello Vancouver

The competition season is over for Brazil's ice sports athletes but there is still much to accomplish to qualify athletes for Vancouver 2010. Figure skaters Kevin Alves and Stacy Perfetti have returned to their training (Stacy trains in New Jersey and Kevin in Toronto) to improve their skills before next season and the sliding athletes (photo above) have returned to Brazil for summer training.

The Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has already made a decision regarding its bobsled athletes based on national and international criteria. Edson Bindilatti will be Brazil's bobsled pilot for both the 2 and 4 man while Fabiana Santos will pilot the 2-woman bob (push-athletes for the Brazilian teams to be announced).

"It was clear from the beginning who would make it and who wouldn't," said Brazilian Ice Sports Federation president and former bob pilot Eric Maleson, "All of the athletes who attended the Bobsled school in Lake Placid are brave souls and deserve a lot of credit but in the end it comes down to who is the better pilot - its the pilot who qualifies a team."

Skeleton athlete Emilio Strapasson, who improved a great deal during the training and America's Cup races in Placid, will do his best to qualify for Vancouver and Stefani Salani, Brazil's first female luge athlete, could also go all the way to 2010.

"Bobsled was Brazil's first ice sport and I'm proud that we've been able to keep the program alive - we have a new generation of pilots including the first woman's team. But now we hope to qualify athletes in other modalities too like skeleton, women's luge and figure skating. We've competed internationally in curling and short track speed skating, but it will be a while before we're able to say we're ready to try and qualify for an Olympics in those modalities," said Maleson, "And next is ice hockey - after many years of work to form the first Brazilian ice hockey team, that would be a dream come true."

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