Canada dominated the 2010 Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver a few weeks ago, but there’s still some international hockey to be played, and Colorado’s Nikko Landeros has his eye on the gold. Landeros made headlines four years ago as a high school student, when he was hit by a car as he changed a tire on the side of the road. He lost his legs, but the eternal athlete didn’t give up his dreams and is now a member of the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
Landeros and his teammates will likely face Canada this weekend to compete for Paralympic gold and avenge the dramatic loss suffered by the U.S. men’s hockey team in Vancouver. Landeros tells The Associated Press sled hockey allows him to take out his trademark aggression.
“I’m a pretty big hitter, so I like to rock people; that’s one of my favorite things to do. If I line somebody up, it’s usually not too much fun for them,” says Landeros, who still weighs 195 pounds without his legs.
First-time sled hockey watchers will be surprised by the game’s speed and fluidity, he adds.
“It’s fast-paced, but people don’t know how physical and intense it is, too. Just like stand-up, but this is harder, to be honest.”
Landeros also points to the dangers of the sport, such as the sharp metal picks on the end of the two sticks players use to get around the ice—they’ve given him plenty of scars. And Landeros’ spot on the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is impressive, notes Examiner, considering he’s been playing the sport for less than two years.