ROCKFORD, Ill. — A Rockford man is the oldest ice luge racer in the world at age 80, and he’s setting records for the most consecutive years competing in the event too.
This year marks Dick Genovese’s 48th year in a row competing in the U.S. Masters luge competition, a race for competitors 30 years and older, the Rockford Register Star reported. He competed in Park City, Utah, against men 40 and 50 years his junior.
“They are going to put it in the Guinness Book of World Records,” Genovese said. “I am the oldest competitor and the longest continuous. I didn’t start out to do it. I just like to do it.”
Genovese’s wife said, “it keeps him young.”
Genovese first picked up the luge after watching the 1968 Winter Olympics. At the time, there were only 50 luge pilots in the world and not a single luge track in the United States.
He wrote letters and was invited to the U.S. luge tryouts in Sweden, where he spent two and a half months practicing by the “crash and error method.”
Genovese never qualified for an Olympic team. He just nearly missed making the team in 1972 and 1980. He retired from Olympic-type luge competition in 1985 after racing on the U.S. national team for 16 years. But he has continued with his Masters competitions once a year, and he’s showing no signs of stopping.
“I haven’t thought about when I was going to quit,” Genovese said. “You never know, all of a sudden your hip or shoulder or something hurts so much you can’t do something, but right now I’m perfectly fine. I just like to do it and I’m still capable.”
Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com