By Karolos Grohmann
(Reuters) – Germany’s Kevin Kuske wanted to bring his bobsleigh career to an end after their ‘debacle’ at the 2014 Sochi Games but after a change of heart the four-time Olympic champion is ready to push for another shot at glory in Pyeongchang next month.
Kuske, a former sprinter and one of the sport’s fastest pushers, won four Olympic gold medals and one silver in the two- and four-man bob between the 2002 and 2010 Games.
But 2014 proved a disappointment for both bobsleigh powerhouse Germany and Kuske, who finished a distant 11th in the two-man and seventh in the four-man bob.
“After the Sochi debacle in 2014 I wanted to end my career in 2015. I did not expect what happened in Sochi,” Kuske said. “But then I decided I had to keep going.”
He may be past his athletic prime at the age of 39 but the 1.96-metre tall Kuske hopes experience and a carefully designed fitness regime that should see him peak at the Pyeongchang Olympics are working in his favor.
“With 39 you have to change things. You also have to constantly work to be in good form,” he added.
“My preparation is to gradually increase intensity of training and not be at top level during the World Cup season but during the Olympics.”
While both Russian bobsleigh teams that took gold in Sochi have since been disqualified for doping, Kuske prefers to focus on what went wrong with his own performance four years ago.
“In Sochi a lot of things did not work. Others worked harder on key issues,” Kuske said. “It was a bit like we worked in the wrong direction.
“The others worked better on the track. Many did not understand how it worked but the Russians had optimized their work on the track and on their material. They had put in the work.”
This time it is Kuske who hopes to have done enough for a medal.
“I am intensifying speed training as we approach the Olympics. The equipment fits,” he said, adding that his motivation is still strong approaching what will be his fifth Olympics.
“I live for sport, I come from a sporting family,” said Kuske, whose parents were track and field athletes while his brother is a former bobsledder. “I have no problems getting motivated.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)