All in the family
Dukurs and his older brother, Tomass, are coached by their father, Dainis, a former amateur bobsled brakeman who also designs their sleds. The elder Dukurs, manager of the ice track in Sigulda, where the family resides, got his sons involved in skeleton as teenagers when the sport first came to Latvia.
After finishing seventh in his Olympic debut in Torino, Dukurs started to build momentum on the World Cup circuit; he won gold in the Winterberg competition in February 2008 and finished sixth overall in the World Cup standings for 2008-09, earning one silver and two bronze medals. A second gold followed in the Park City season opener in November 2009. "At this time, I'm very happy," Dukurs said of his race as told to The Associated Press. "I was fast. Olympic year, I feel the pressure, but I think I'm ready."
Going for gold
Dukurs' success continued leading up to the 2010 Winter Games, with the Latvian slider earning a total of seven overall medals, including four gold, to take the World Cup crown in January 2010. In Vancouver, his brother Tomass is likely to contend for a medal, but Dukurs is the surefire gold medal favorite. Men's singles luger Martins Rubenis won the country's first Winter Games medal, a bronze, in Torino.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.