Oh my! My son, AJ Rosen, is going to be competing in his third Olympics for Great Britain in the sport of luge ! He arrived in Korea over the weekend, and is thrilled to be there. He has proudly sent photos of his ‘kit’ and uniform.
It has been such a journey for him, and while he will be retiring after the Olympics (he is 33), he has greatly enjoyed the experience, the lifelong friends he has made, and the opportunity to have been able to travel the globe for so many years. A life experience in so many ways. As a Brit, I encouraged my children to obtain their British passports, and they have cherished the experience of being both a Brit and an American! Who does he take after? Certainly not me. I cannot stand heights or speed, so AJ is definitely his own person!
AJ has always loved speed, perhaps as a result of attending the air shows (Dad and Grandad were in the US Air Force). (AJ’s other Grandad was in the British Merchant Navy). AJ flew solo when he was 16 when he attended the Embry-Riddle summer camp programs, was a Sergeant of the Year when he was 14 when he was a member of the Civil Air Control, won a trip to the NASA Space Camp in Alabama when he was also 14 (he had already attended the camp there 6 times), and in short, he always loved uniforms!
After the 1996 Olympics, he saw a luge try out event advertised in the area, and after attending a fun morning event where the young athletes would slide down from a truck’s ramp on a wheeled sled (with bales of hay to stop them from crashing too badly!), was selected to attend a training camp at Lake Placid. AJ was the Number One Luge Athlete in the US when he was just 14 for athletes 16 and under, came in 2nd at the Empire State Games when he was just 13 for athletes 16 and under but never made it to the World Cup circuit, and through the aid of Duncan Kennedy, his former coach, friend, and a three time Olympic athlete, contacted the Great Britain Luge Association, and was accepted into their team.
I can still recall his traveling at the age of 18 to Germany, with his sled, his computer, and suitcase, not knowing the language, and traveling alone to a remote camp to meet strangers. He loved it and thrived on the experience. AJ was always soft spoken, and so the traveling really helped him to overcome his natural shyness. At his first Olympics, AJ came in 16th, outperforming two Americans that he had been bypassed for. The US asked AJ to return to their team, but he was too honorable to leave Great Britain.
AJ was sliding quite well for his second Olympics in Vancouver, but had an accident on the tough course where another athlete had crashed to his death, 3 months before the Olympics. After dislocating his hip and tearing a nerve, the doctors didn’t know whether he would be able to compete, but he not only qualified a month or so later, but came in 16th yet again! However, no funding thereafter since he came in 16th and not in the top 10!
It has been difficult due to the lack of funding and quality of equipment, especially since the Germans have so much money allotted to them for sport each year ( I once read over 40 Million Euros), but the athletes are a family. A family of nations, of different cultures, and they vacation together, travel and meet each other during the off seasons, and AJ has loved it.
I am not going to Korea, but funnily enough, my youngest son, Brett who is currently playing baseball in Australia (and who has played baseball for great Britain), is going to the Olympics to see AJ compete. However, I will be arising at dawn to watch him compete, and I must admit that Olympic excitement has reached our home the closer we get to the event!
Go AJ – Go Great Britain!
Westchester is GREAT!