Fruitvale native Joe Cecchini is set to race alongside the world’s best sliders in the World Skeleton championship in Winterberg, Germany this weekend.
Cecchini captured the 2015 Italian National title at Igls in Austria last month. Racing on the same track where he had a disappointing result in the World Cup just days after he first arrived in Europe, Cecchini posted the fastest times in both runs and now holds the title of Campione Italiano di Skeleton for the second time in his career.
Cecchini noted, it was a very close race with fellow National Teammate, Mattia Gaspari, who continues to push him to be better every run. He was also thankful to Sci Club Selvino and FISI (Federation Italiana Sport Invernali) for accepting him into the national program.
He was doing shift-work with the police and training with the Canadian skeleton program at the same time, but the situation just didn’t work out for the racer.
“I didn’t feel I was getting the opportunity I was looking for with the Canadian program,” Cecchini said. “Working full-time, in a shift-work environment, it was hard to marry up the structure the Canadian program wanted.”
The constable took advantage of his dual citizenship and decided to pursue his dreams to compete on the World Cup circuit by joining the Italian team in early 2013.
Being the lone Azzuri racer on the North American circuit means Cecchini trains independently, with very little contact with the squad in Europe.
While he consults with the Italian coaches to plan out the season, Cecchini takes care of the details himself when racing and traveling in North America.
Cecchini has a strength and conditioning coach he works with in Calgary, but he doesn’t have a technical coach.
“I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on snowbanks in North America and Europe watching sleds,” Cecchini said. “And I’ve developed an idea how to read ice and compete at the best level I can.”
While he’s on the North American circuit, all the money Cecchini pours into competing comes from his own pocket.
Lucky enough, you can’t put a price on dreams.
“I missed out for 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, by one spot, in the world rankings” Cecchini said. “My goal is to be in the Olympics in Korea. I’m doing everything I can to be there (in 2018).”
Cecchini is currently ranked 22nd in the FIBT World Rankings and will represent Italy, along with teammate Gaspari, at the World Championships in Winterberg, Germany on March 5-6.