December 18, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune
You Need to Know About Zach Lund
He's a Utahn
The 26-year-old skeleton athlete is a native Utahn, having grown up in Salt Lake City. His father worked as a deputy sheriff in Alta and now has a job as a fire department captain in Salt Lake City. His mother died when he was a teenager. Lund graduated from Judge High School, attends Westminster College in hopes of becoming a pilot, and works in the tool department of a local Home Depot.
He's in the Lead
Lund sits atop the World Cup rankings with 340 points, ahead of Canadian Jeff Pain - who set a track record while winning the most recent race ahead of Lund last week in Latvia. He's enjoying a breakout season, having been on the podium (though without a victory) in all four World Cup events so far this season, after managing but one bronze medal last season.
He Sure Can Drive
While most casual observers figure that the slider with the best start inevitably wins a race, it's not necessarily true. And Lund has emerged as one of the top drivers on the World Cup circuit, becoming an expert at negotiating the treacherous curves of a course while working to improve his start. One of his former coaches has said that while many sliders slow down through the curves, Lund has a way of picking up speed .
He Never Quit
After skiing when he was 3 years old, Lund started in the sliding sports when his father introduced him to luge at a dry-land training camp in Park City. He didn't care much for it at first, but returned to it later, after also trying the bobsled. Ultimately, though, he traded the luge for the skeleton and a chance to feel like his results were the only things that mattered in his drive toward the Olympics.
He Loves His Mother
Having lost his mother to skin cancer when he was a teenager, Lund has said he feels as if she's now a guardian angel watching over him. He also keeps a special memento with him everywhere he goes, even during competition. It's a cross pendant with a lock of his mother's hair inside - a gift from mom, and a reminder of how he used to love playing with her hair as a young boy, before it fell out during her chemotherapy.