JOE caught up with Red Bull Crashed Ice hopeful Amanda Trunzo about coming fourth, hockey boys, and giving as good as she gets.
JOE: How the hell does a 23 year old girl end up in Niagara with lots of angry Canadian men?
AT: I actually did this last year – I did it in St Paul in Quebec last year, and ended up finishing 4th. Team USA said “Hey, let’s get back at it” - and there’s a women’s division here in Niagara, so I hopped on the plane and came here.
JOE: And how did you get involved with Red Bull Crashed Ice in the first place?
AT: I played Ice Hockey my whole life. I’ve an older brother, he’s two years older than me, he played as a kid and got me involved. Pretty much every kid in Minnesota plays at some point. From there, I ended up playing college Hockey in Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where I had the opportunity to play in the Under 22’s USA National team. So Hockey is in my blood really. When the Red Bull Crashed Ice Athlete Trials came to St Paul, I figured I’d try out!
JOE: But what makes you go from playing a team sport, from wanting to put a puck in a goal, to padding up and throwing yourself down a hill?
AT: I think it’s just the thrill of it? It’s something you can’t do outside of this event. There’s no real Ice Cross Downhill tracks anywhere in North America you can go pracitce, so Red Bull Crashed Ice is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it’s something just so different – I’ve always played team sports, and this is an opportunity to do something for yourself. You get up on the start line and hear the crowd going crazy. There was over 100,000 at Quebec last year, the biggest crowd I’ll ever have in any sport. That excitement is something you can never feel anywhere.
JOE: This is a sport dominated by men. We didn’t even know there was a female event this weekend. How does the Ice Cross Downhill differ in the ladies event, compared to the men’s?
AT: There’s no real difference. Sure, the men might be a bit faster, but when you’re up there you’re competing against 3 other girls. Time trials are one thing. They might have the edge on us there. But put 3 other people on the Ice and have them compete, you’re gonna see high intensity skating and really strong competition.
JOE: So what’s the goal this time around? 4th place in St. Paul last year – what are you aiming for in Niagara?
AT: I’m through to the last 16, but I really want to make it to the podium this year. I was really disappointed last year – I fell straight out of the gate in the final race of 4 and I wasn’t able to make up for it. I’m hoping to come out a little stronger this year, I’ve a bit more experience, so hopefully that’ll help me. But you never know – one trip, one fall, a leaf blows out on the ice and you’re done! So you never know, but I’m hopeful I can do one better than last time out.
JOE: Well best of luck! We'll be keeping an eye out for you at the finish line!
AT: Cheers JOE!