Saturday, May 28

Lucas Eguibar, a champion in the name of his brother

  • “Sometimes you have to be prepared because otherwise life will give you a host like it did to me”

  • “Three days before the World Championship I had a slump day. Many times they come to me and I call my family half crying ”

  • “I had supervised the World Cup race, at no point did I see the gold slip away from me”

In the past week Lucas Eguibar he was crowned snowboard boardercross world champion. His victory at the Swedish station of Idre Fjäll was a liberation after luck had been elusive in recent times to this 27-year-old from Donostia, who had already shown his talent by winning the World Cup of the 2014 season- 2015 and individual and team silver at the Sierra Nevada 2017 World Cups. The accident of his brother Nico before the Sochi 2014 Games and the death of his coach, Israel PlanasBefore Pyonyang 2018, where he was the Spanish flag bearer, they had truncated the preparation of the two Olympic events. The world gold gives him peace of mind to face the challenges that remain until the Beijing Games in 2022, where he is confident that the third time will be the charm.

How does global gold change the way you look at everything?

The mind is a little more calm because the objective of this year we have already fulfilled. I try to make an effort not to be relaxed but, on the contrary, to be with that nervousness that you have to have before the race. We continue to play a lot even though I am already a world champion. You have to keep pressing.

But after these four difficult years it must be a liberation.

I’m super happy and super happy. The pity is that just this week we have the World Cup [el jueves fue segundo en Austria] and we can hardly enjoy it but it is what it is, the season is very short. Next week I’ll be home and celebrate.

What has your brother told you?

That they are very happy that they lived the race with great intensity, that they had a great time and that they were very proud.

In 2013 Lucas was with his mother and sister, watching a documentary about Kevin Pearce, a ‘rider’ who had had an accident that had caused brain injuries, when his mother received a call. Nico, Lucas’s older brother, had been in a car accident. When he got to the hospital, the first thing he heard was that Nico was in a coma and brain damaged. They gave him six hours to live but he survived and, after two months without training, Lucas went to the Sochi Games, where he obtained an Olympic diploma after being knocked down in the semifinal. The Eguibar brothers made a pact: Lucas would give everything on the slopes if Nico gave everything to recover to the maximum.

At what point is the pact?

It was a pact, I try to keep my brother doing things and he motivates himself with mine. He sees that I keep training a lot, working a lot and now I keep getting things. And that motivates him a lot.

That united them a lot and motivated each other.

In general it brought my entire family together, me, my sister, my brother and my mother. We are super united. And although I live alone and they together see each other a lot. I take the opportunity to go to dinner whenever I can with them. After what happened we got together a lot. Today family is the most important thing I have.

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When something like this happens so young, at 19 years old, that should change the vision of life and priorities, just as it is happening to many people with the pandemic.

It changed me completely. I believe that I am not the same and I believe that for the better. My brother was not very well stopped from that but he is super happy, which is what makes us the most happy. Unfortunately we learn a lot from bad things. That something has to happen to us for us to learn, as has happened to us now with the pandemic. This has had to happen to us so that many people change. And that’s the sad thing.

How do you get back together when something like your brother’s or your coach’s death happens to you?

I can’t say if when you’re younger or older it’s more different, it has caught me as it has caught me. How do I take it? I think in general quite well, I have learned a lot and I only keep the good parts: enjoying life, taking advantage of everything we have, and at the moment when we are enjoying more of everything. Every time we can go out for a walk or see the family enjoy the moment. We have to be super grateful to have what we have. I think that is the way of looking at things, especially after my brother’s accident. He has a lot of difficulty speaking, walking, for many things in general. My brother was a supersportsman, like me, and now he can’t do any sports. He is a person who took it super well. He says it: ‘Either I grabbed a hot nail or nothing.’ Lots of people who go through these accidents get depressed and it’s normal. A person who could do everything, because my brother did absolutely everything: he would go fishing, then go to work, then go out and play rugby … and overnight he can’t do anything. Getting out of all that and being happy and not thinking about the rest made me see reality in many aspects. Athletes who seek perfection and confuse competition and personal things … A lot has happened to me. A few years I became very serious, I was always very happy and heartfelt. That role that I was trying to create of Lucas sporty, more serious, that I was trying to build happened to me that the personal Lucas was no longer so happy. And after this he made me appreciate that being mature and serious has nothing to do with the fact that you are not happy and are smiling and joking. And I try to be like that.

Sometimes it is normal to build an emotional wall in situations like this.

It is very difficult and it is normal to join the two roles that we all have: I am an athlete but there are people who have their jobs. You have to make an effort because if not, your job will eat up your life. Speaking it is very easy and doing it is more difficult. Although I love sports and snowboarding, I get ultrafluous and live off that I will always be grateful as everything has a bad part: I travel a lot, I am almost always away from my family, friends, and home. And there are many days when I don’t feel like training. And it is normal. And I have to go up one day, yes, and the next, even if it is a bad day or it rains, I have to keep training. And motivation shot. In the peaks you have high and low days and even if you have low days you have to keep training. We have to give 100% of ourselves. For a few years those days affected me a lot. Look now I would like to be celebrating with my family, my back hurts from a fall but I think look, I’m in Austria, I have competition. Always look for the positive side to things that there will always be something. A day that you don’t smile is a wasted day.

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Now luck seems to be smiling at him again.

Well I do not know if luck changes, surely there is a reason why I have not won these years. And that reason is surely in me, that I have done something wrong. I believe in luck, that you have to have a bit or a lot of luck for many things in life. By ho by b, those years that were aiming so well have not ended as expected but look, with everything that happened with my brother made me wonder a lot about what I wanted to do with my life. I was 19 years old, it was preseason to go to the Games, I thought life would go on, that my family would always be there and everyone would be great and that we would all die of old age. And what happened to my brother was a shocker at first because he couldn’t believe it. I did not sleep for many days because I did not imagine that my brother was about to pass away. It did not enter my head. ‘If you have been with me this afternoon’. And then they gave him six hours to live. I was wondering how this can happen. And I realized that in a moment we could run out of this bargain we have. Since then it is not that I live in fear, on the contrary, I live with great joy but I will never forget that these things can happen. And then it happened to me with my coach in 2017. And then right after the 2018 Games, which was a bad time for me, because I was the flagger and favorite and I fell in the first round, I came home and my grandfather passed away. .. Many things came together. But they made me reconsider and see that things can be over in a moment. Thanks to those I value everything much more. Sometimes you have to be prepared because if you don’t, life gives you a host like it did to me.

In these years, have you considered stopping or leaving it?

When all this happened to me about my brother and I saw that it could end at any time, that’s where I said ‘let’s see what you want to do’. If you want to ‘snow’, go ‘full’ for it. And I wrote that and everything. Come on, let’s do it and with the method of work. Because I have a gift but I believe that work is what will get me there. I know that not everything is going to be uphill, that there will be many ups and downs but that work is going to be what will get me here. A lot of times it has come to my mind if I am doing good or bad but I always remember the moment when I considered all this. Many times I get slumps and I call my family half crying. Three days before the World Championship I had a slump day. My family called me very motivated and they saw me like that and said: what’s wrong? ‘ And I ‘well, I have one of those days’. We all have days but we must know what our goal is and that there will be days of downturn but that they are temporary.

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Do you do mental and visualization work?

Years ago I did much more with my coach, the one who passed away. And now I’m trying to get it back. Last year I started a little and this one more and it seems that again it is working well for me. The same is that. Let’s get on with it. The physical and technical preparations are super important because no matter how much you have an exceptional head, if you don’t know how to ‘snow’, you’re not going to go where I throw myself. But having the head to do these things and being in the situation is important. Like the other day: World Championship final. I already had a strategy of going out and putting myself in second or third position and waiting until the end. That works. Visualization helps me a lot, it is super important. We don’t have much time to learn the clues and visualization work is very important. And I also have routines in the mornings and nights to activate the body that help me focus on my body, my breathing and what I have to do. I had supervised the World Cup race, at no time did I see the gold slip away. It comes from a lot of visualization work.

How many millions would you have in your account if you were given one euro for every time they asked you what you are doing surfing in the snow instead of in the waves of La Concha?

(Laughs) I’d have a lot of money.

It may interest you

Do the Games owe you one in Beijing 2022?

I do not know if it is duty or not, you have to fight in the Games. You have to fight, work and have a bit of luck, like I did the other day. If you win the general of the World Cup [como Eguibar en 2014-2015] it’s that you’ve been strong all season; winning like me the other day is one day every two years and the Games one day every four. I’m going to keep working a lot and more after this rush and it will be what it has to be. If it’s not in Beijing, I’ll try another four more years and that’s it.

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