An Accident that Never Should Have Happened

It Could Have Been Much Worse

Both Grayson and Ruben were extremely lucky.

Ruben could have lost a foot (it’s happened before) and Grayson could have been seriously injured if if he had hit Ruben’s sled.

When you watch the video at 1/2 speed, you can see how they both dodged a bullet.

Grayson pulls his legs up right before impact.

His sled hits Ruben’s sled (22 kilos / 50 lbs) and it flies off of Ruben’s hand narrowly missing Grayson.

Nothing hits Ruben either.

The impulse from his sled flying off his hands sweeps Ruben around just as Grayson’s sled slides under him.

It was a miracle nothing worse happened.

If it had, they may not have survived because there was not an ambulance or any medical personnel at the track.

Incredibly, the announcer did not announce a “hold on track” after this accident.

The track was cleared for the next sled…

Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

First Four Decade Winter Olympian

Ruben Gonzalez has been competing internationally since 1986.

He competed in the 1988 Calgary, 1992 Albertville, 2002 Salt Lake City, and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

He first slid at the Igls track in 1986.

The great Austrian luger Günther Lemmerer coached Ruben for 8 years.

Lemmerer was World Champion, three times overall World Cup Champion and 2 times Olympian.

Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Training to Make Olympic History

Ruben’s training for the 2026 Milan / Cortina Olympics where he hopes to become the Oldest Winter Olympian in history and the first to compete in 5 Winter Olympics in 5 different decades.

He’s sliding better and more consistently than ever.

His coach says it’s possible for him to do it.

Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Dislocated Elbow Changes Everything

He dearly needs as many luge runs as possible in order to have a chance to qualify for 2026 Milan / Cortina.

Ruben will miss much or all of the 2023-2024 season.

All because of the Igls track negligence.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Igls Track May be 2026 Olympic Track

Italy will not be building a luge track for the 2026 Milan / Cortina Winter Olympics.

The Igls track will most likely be the Olympic track because of it’s proximity to Milan.

There is nothing wrong with the Igls track. The athletes like it because of it’s location and because everyone has trained and competed there before.

The problem is the lack of safety protocols on the part of the track announcers.

They continue to clear the track before the previous athlete has cleared the track.

Athletes pay $40 US for every run. It seems like the track management is more interested in how many luge runs they can complete per hour (profits) than on the safety of the athletes.

It’s only a matter of time before someone else gets injured or killed.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Safety needs to improve at the Igls track
before someone gets killed.

More Determined than Ever

Sometimes when something bad happens to you, it ends up being a blessing in disguise. Getting hurt made me more DETERMINED, more FOCUSED, hungrier, and much more DRIVEN than I was before.
I became a man on a mission – to get well ASAP so that I would’t miss the whole season. It made me work hard (sometimes too hard) to regain my mobility so that I could even FIT in the sled.
The daily workouts and stretching have become a habit. They’re the first thing I do in the morning (and again throughout the day).
I feel better and more energetic after these short workouts. I actually look forward to them.
The good habits have spilled into other areas of my life, like my diet and my business. I believe that gaining this STRONGER mindset will offset the time that I lost.
In the long run, my more focused and determined mindset will improve my chances of achieving “5 in 5.”
1 – Look for a WIN no matter WHAT happens. Don’t wallow in your misery. Just focus on what you need to do.
2 – When like knocks you down, get back up as quickly as possible so you don’t lose your momentum.
3 – Protect your attitude. Throughout this whole process I NEVER felt sorry for myself. I only felt anger at the track announcer’s incompetence.
4 – Harness your anger. Eventually I harnessed my anger and turned it into to DETERMINATION.
5 – Many times when you look back at something bad that happens to you, you just might discover that there was a bright and powerful silver lining.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Followed Coach’s Advice

Oct. 8 2023
I followed coach’s advice to stay in Austria for a few days.
He said I was needed time to go through the steps of the grieving process (grieving the potential loss of the Olympic Dream).
I stuck around, watched sleds go by while learning from the coaches, and started feeling better.
THAT’s when I started harnessing my anger and turning it into determination.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

From Cast to Brace

Nov. 16, 2023
The arm needed to be immobilized for two weeks.
Back at home I was happy to be able to replace the bulky cast with a brace.
Don’t look so down anymore even though the future was uncertain.
No matter what happens, protect your attitude.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Start of Rehab

Dec. 1, 2023
Started doing very light exercises to try to regain mobility and build strength.
To stay positive, I would say, “Trust the process,” with every rep.
It was scary because even light exercises hurt (I had to constantly alternate between exercise and massaging my arm).
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Pushing the Limits

Dec. 1, 2023
Every day I was able to extend and contract my arm a little bit more.
But for almost two months, when I woke up in the morning, my arm would be stuck at 90 degrees as if I hadn’t done ANY rehab.
That was scary and frustrating.
Every morning I’d wrap it up in warm compresses then slowly do the exercises to get to the point I’d been the day before, and hopefully more.
Many days I would do the work but see no improvement.
I’d think, “Is this it? Am I going to have a bent cripple arm?” The thought of that made me work it even HARDER.
A couple of times I had sharp pain afterwards which made me think, “Great, now I’ve torn the ligaments worse.”
When that happened I would go light the next day and gradually increase the intensity until I hurt it again.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Rebuilding Arm

Dec. 9, 2023
When the doctor removed the cast 2 weeks after the accident, I was amazed at how much my arm had atrophied.
In only two weeks.
That drove me to build it up again.
Every day after warming up the muscles with curls and extensions, I would artificially extend my arm with the help of rubber bands.
Every day a little bit more.
But the triceps muscle was not strong enough to extend the arm on its own.
Even now, almost 3 months after the exercise, my triceps can’t extend the arm all the way on it’s own.
But I keep doing the work and every day it’s getting a little bit better.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

No Surgery Needed!

Dec. 17, 2023
After two MRIs the doctor determined that I didn’t need surgery.
There’s some things my arm won’t do anymore without wearing a brace, but nothing that will affect my sliding.
(Look at the difference in size between my two arms. Scary.)
I keep working them and they’re BOTH getting bigger now.
Every day in every way you can get better and better. Wiser and wiser. Stronger and stronger.
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Finally Fit in Sled

Dec. 29, 2023
I can FINALLY fit in my sled! I can even paddle very gingerly.
What an exciting day that was!
A couple of miles from home on my 1988 Calgary Olympic sled with wheels.
Baby steps, but baby steps in the right direction.

Top of the Track

Jan. 19, 2024
Sliding from Bob Start, top of the track, for the first time in 14 years – 84 MPR. Took a total of 9 runs from Bob Start – 3 runs a day.
On the first run I crashed on curve 6. I knew exactly what I did wrong. Wasn’t steering strongly enough.
Went back up and took my next two runs – you HAVE to get back on the horse right after he bucks you off. If you don’t, you might as well go home cause you’ve lost your nerve.
Next two runs were ugly but I got down. I got down! Success.
I’d forgotten how much faster it was from the top. But I knew that my brain would adjust to the speed. You have to train your brain.
Everything’s hard in the beginning, but as long as you don’t quit, it gets easier and easier.
First run was OK. Didn’t feel as fast.
Second run I almost crashed but again, I knew what I did wrong and how to correct it.
Third run was good. Ended the day on a high note.
This would be the last training day of this 2.5 week session.
All three runs were good and I was really getting used to the high speeds.
Amazing how quickly the mind adjusts.
I’m stronger mentally and more determined than I’ve ever been.
Like I said before, in retrospect, I think that this crazy accident will end up helping me out.

Bring in Ruben to INSPIRE your people to be their best!