PERU — It started with a flier, as Tristan Jeskanen’s father signed him up for a slider search.
Today, the journey is far from over, with the 16-year-old excelling at luge and chasing Olympic dreams.
He’s training hard, homeschooled now, and must raise a significant amount of money to continue down his path.
But Jeskanen is not giving up, because he says, “I know I can do it.”
At 13, he didn’t know what to expect when he participated in the slider search at Clinton Community College in 2009.
“But I always liked to try new things.”
He was hooked before the ride was over.
“There’s just something about the speed and the wind in your face, and you just have to lie down and steer with your shoulders.”
Before that, he played soccer and baseball and was a swimmer, but luge was different. It requires a strong core and upper body.
The coaches thought he did well and invited him to the screening camp in Lake Placid.
Before long, they noticed Jeskanen pulling faster starts than other athletes, a testament to his strength at such a young age.
Jeskanen has spent the past three years training and competing in places such as Utah and participated in the nationals the last couple years. He no longer attends Peru Central School, with his family home-schooling him instead to better work around his training schedule.
“It seems like I am never home anymore, because I am always training,” Jeskanen said.
He placed fifth in his first nationals competition and eighth at the last one he competed in.
Jeskanen hopes to compete in the 2018 Olympics.
“It’s my biggest goal,” he said.
Jeskanen has passion and love for the sport, as well as the commitment, and said he has great coaches to help him get stronger.