Student Jelen Franjic (21) combines his studies with a successful top sport career. He is now at the Olympic Games and will be in action for the first time today. From China he tells us how he is doing:
Your father competed in the 1984 and 1992 Olympics as a bobsledder. What is it like for you to be in Beijing now?
For me it is a dream come true. Because my father went to the games twice, I grew up with the same dream and the ambition to be at the games. It is therefore even more special that I do the same sport as my father and can now perform at the highest level.
In addition, it is of course an enormous honour to represent the Netherlands at the Olympic Games. Here you can enjoy and perform at the same time.
"For me it is a dream come true."
How was the road to Beijing?
Very tough. This is my third season in bobsleigh and also the longest. Since the end of last season (2020/2021), we have actually been busy preparing for this season non-stop. We have had many training camps, especially in the summer and the last period before the season started. The World Cup races started at the end of November, but we already left at the beginning of October to start descending. So I have been on the season since the beginning of October and I was only in the Netherlands for a few days before Christmas.
A lot has happened and we have had a lot of bad luck. The biggest setback for the team (and for me personally) is that my brother got injured after our first World Cup at the end of November. My brother was our best athlete then, so we missed him a lot in the following races. It was very hard for me, because he had already had a lot of bad luck with injuries and I didn't want to live our Olympic dream without him. We went through a lot. This has helped me personally in my development, I have progressed very fast since October. The tough road was certainly not pleasant, but it has ensured that I am now stronger, faster and more driven than ever before.
You will be the first to compete in the two-man bob on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 February. Are you looking forward to it?
I am really looking forward to being in action. It is a dream come true and a personal goal that I have achieved. I am very proud to say that I am the youngest brakeman in the 2-man league. We'll do what we're good at, we'll do our best and we're going to have a lot of fun performing!
- More information
This weekend Jelen was interviewed by Dutch newspaper Trouw, read the interview here.
Follow the two-man bob with Jelen as the youngest brakeman:
- Monday 14 February, 13.05 hours and 14.40 hours
- Tuesday 15 February, 13.15 hours and possibly 14.50 hours
On 19 and 20 February, Jelen will be in action with the four-man bobsleigh.
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