At the ripe old age of 25, Keith Loach, a self-confessed couch potato, peeled himself off the sofa and decided to become an Olympian.
Eight years later — having transmuted 30 pounds of blubber into 30 pounds of muscle — Loach is on the verge of cracking Canada’s skeleton team in time for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“I was kind of borderline overweight and out of shape,” said Loach, 33, who was in Vancouver yesterday to promote the 2009 bobsleigh and skeleton World Cup. “I was a professional couch potato who needed to make a change in his life.”
Loach, a triplet who grew up a helmet’s toss from the sliding centre in Calgary, earned a full-time World Cup spot at the end of last season.
He was added to Canada’s World Cup squad part way through this season and is one of five athletes fighting for three Olympic skeleton roster spots.
“The toughest part for me is pushing the sled fast because I was sort of fat and out of shape when I started this sport,” said Loach, the slowest starter on the team.
But what he lacks in speed, he added, he makes up for in driving.
“I’m slower than some of the other guys, but I can usually catch them by the end.”