When you think of the Basque Country and sports, images of pelota, rowing, or stone lifting come to mind. And of course soccer, no matter who you root for. However, while the Basque Country certainly gets snow, it isn’t known for winter sports. However, that might start changing with the incredible performances of Lucas “Luki” Eguibar.
- Eguibar, known as Luki, is the reigning snowboard cross champion, beating the Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle in a photo finish at the world championships held on February 11 in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. While Haemmerle had the better start, Eguibar caught him on the lower part of the mountain. In an interview afterwards, though elated, he said that in the semifinals he could barely feel his legs due to the punishment of the landings.
- Luki was born on February 9, 1994 in Donostia, Gipuzkoa. He took to the snow early, at the age of 2 and first competing as a skier at the age of 5. However, when he turned 16, he decided that skiing wasn’t for him and turned to snowboarding. Soon, he competed in the Spanish Championship of snowboard cross and finished third.
- Since then, Luki has competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Games, finishing 7th and 33rd, respectively. In the 2014 games, he had won all of his races until the semi-final, where he fell and was later disqualified. In 2017, he won silver in both the individual and team snowboard cross World Championship held in Sierra Nevada, Spain. He won gold in the Junior World Championship in 2013. He also has four World Cup victories.
- Because of the lack of appropriate training facilities within the Basque Country and Spain more broadly, he travels to countries like Austria and Switzerland to train.
- Luki also has a passion for tattoos. He estimates he has more than 30, including ones dedicated to his grandparents, who died shortly after the 2018 Olympic Games in Korea. He has even tattooed himself. He go-to place is Tattoo Chaman in Irun.
- Luki has two siblings. His brother, Nico, was in a car accident just months before the 2014 Olympic Games. Doctors said he wouldn’t live through the day, but after 45 days in a coma, he survived. Now they inspire each other to do their best as one competes and the other rebuilds his life. Sara, Luki’s sister, was also a competitive skier and snowboarder.
Primary sources: El milagro de Lucas Eguibar, Mundo Deportivo; Lucas Eguibar, Wikipidea; La pasión secreta de Lucas Eguibar por los tatuajes, Mundo Deportivo; Lucas Eguibar, Basqueteam.eus; Lucas Eguibar, el vasco que vuela en la nieve, ElPais; Lucas Eguibar, a champion in the name of his brother, Digis Mak.