Ruben Gonzalez, Four time Olympian

Ruben Gonzalez, Four time Olympian

Mr. Ruben Gonzalez is a four time Olympian in the sport of ‘Luge’. At the age of 25, he made his olympics debut. He kept training and became the first ever person to compete in four winter olympics in four different decades. He is also preparing to go to the Olympics for the fifth time.



Have you ever fastened yourself to a sledge and hurled yourself down an icy mountain at over 80 miles per hour? Sounds scary right! Well, our guest for today has been doing this for the past four decades. Mr. Ruben Gonzalez is a four time Olympian in the sport of ‘Luge’. At the age of 25, he made his olympics debut. He kept training and became the first ever person to compete in four winter olympics in four different decades. He is also preparing to go to the Olympics for the fifth time.

Ruben explains that Luge is a french word which means sledge. The luge is a sport where there is a 1.5 meter long sledge on which a person lays down on his back and races on ice at over 80 miles per hour. Players hold on two handles and pull themselves forward and this is how the sport is played.


What are the Olympics really about?

In Ruben’s words, “Olympics are a place that showcases to the world the power of the human spirit”. Talking about Olympians, Ruben shares his experience how he was drawn to olympics not because of athleticism, but because of their spirit. That they train for years and years with no guarantee of success. He felt that one has to be really strong to put oneself through that, thus they became his idol and he wanted to be just like them.

What does it feel like to be at a speed of 90 miles per hour?

At the above mentioned question Ruben lets out a little laughter and says, “It is not fun okay!”. He tells us that people think luge is fun, but when you are doing it, nothing feels more dangerous. All types of fear crowd your mind, sometimes you feel like quitting. It took Ruben quite a long time to get out of that fear.

How did an 8X10 picture inspire Ruben to be an Olympiyan?

Ruben tells us that once he was watching the Olympics on TV, and saw a little boy winning the gold in ‘Figure Skating’ for the US. This inspired Ruben to play. Ruben hoped that if that little guy could win, he could at least play. Then, he started finding the perfect sport to play that he believed could fit him. That was the time he picked luge, but did not have the details about the track. He wrote a letter to a sports magazine asking where he could learn luge. They wrote back with an 8X10 picture of a guy sitting on a luge. Ruben liked it immensely that it went straight to his wall. He used to look at it day and night. He used to dream about it. That picture became his goal setting system. He still has that picture on the wall.

How do you prepare yourself mentally before performing?

Ruben tells us that when you perform anything, the first thing you have to do is trust your training. You should believe that you have what it takes. He adds that before performing, just let your subconscious take over. Once you switch from conscious to subconscious, you have a better chance of getting into the zone, because if you try to analyze while performing, you cannot give your hundred percent. He says try to have fun while performing, because if you have fun you are relaxed and there are higher chances to perform better in that state.

How do you embrace change in the luge and in your business?

Ruben answers this question quite precisely, he says whenever there is a change, some adjustment needs to be made and whoever adjusts first, wins. This goes for every aspect of life, be it weather change for luge or be it business.

Ruben’s experience with the German Luge Team and how he learnt about commitment from them.

Ruben shares a fascinating experience with us about how he learnt about commitment from the German Luge team. He tells us that when he played in the Olympics for the first time, the German players were very rude to him and did not reply anytime he greeted them. Two years later when he played in the Olympics for the second time, the same people got really friendly. He got annoyed at this and asked them why they had been rude to him earlier. Their answer left a great impact on Ruben. They said that there is a huge population in Germany, who play luge. Due to this, it is very difficult for German players to get a chance to get into the Olympics. So whenever they see people leaving Luge after a year or two, they find it disrespectful towards the game, now that Ruben has been in the game for so long and not quitting, he has earned their respect and that is what they call commitment.  

Lesson from the Boxer

He tells us before his first Olympics, he was in a gym when, then boxing champion, ‘Evander Holyfield arrived. He went to talk to him and he asked Ruben what sport he played. To this, Ruben replied, he is a ‘luger’. Evander misheard ‘luger’ as ‘loser’ and immediately started to soft scold Ruben that he should never consider himself as a loser again. He should believe that he is a winner and drop that loser attitude right then. He was a little loud that made everybody in the gym look at Ruben. Ruben got very embarrassed that he joined a different gym. But he says that he told him to be careful about what he says to himself because that is the way our brain programmes itself. He said that it is the self-talk which makes you or breaks you.

How does having a higher purpose help us to take action?

Ruben tells us that he is currently trying hard to get his Visa to China to play in the Olympics. If he gets into the Winter Olympics in Beijing, he is going to be the oldest Winter Olympian in history. His higher purpose is to inspire people that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still pursue your dream and dedicate your life to it. This higher purpose gives him strength to keep doing it.

Two types of courage one needs to succeed in life.

He tells us there are two types of courage; the courage to get started and the courage to not quit. To explain this he says, it is difficult to start something when you have no skills, everything seems hard, but it comes from believing it is possible. Once you have started, you need courage to stay in the game and not quit. You have to work hard to learn those skills to reach the goal. The courage to not quit comes from your desire.


At the age of 21, Ruben Gonzalez took up the sport of luge and started training for the Olympics. Four years….. and a few broken bones later, Ruben made his Olympic dream come true! But he didn’t stop there… Ruben kept training, and at the age of 47, he was racing against 20-year-olds at the Vancouver Winter Olympics! Ruben’s the first person to ever to compete in four Winter Olympics in four different DECADES! He’s one of the most popular speakers in America. Ruben’s best selling book “The Courage to Succeed” has been translated to 10 languages.

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