OLSON SERIOUSLY INJURED ONE WEEK BEFORE SHANGHAI EVENT –
CAN HE STILL PERFORM?
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2004
Taipei, Taiwan –
In professional sports, there are two kinds of athletes: those who make excuses, and those who will do whatever it
takes to win.
American racer Pete Olson doesn’t make excuses.
Most people would lie in bed for a week after losing a half-inch wide section of one rib. But to racer Pete Olson, this is
part of the game.
In a Rotax professional kart racing practice last Saturday, Olson was putting his kart up on two wheels, airborne, while
driving over kerbing at speeds of over 140kph (80mph). During the painful practice session, he felt a stabbing pain in
his ribcage but refused to pull into the pits. “I never pass up a chance to turn another lap” said Olson today from his
apartment in Panchiao City, Taipei.
Little did Olson know that the repeated impacts of an ill-fitting fiberglass seat were slowly fracturing one of his ribs, to
the point where a section of one of his ribs was completely broken off.
“It felt like a knife in my side, but I have driven with a lot of pain before, and I have learned to accept it and drive
through it. But by the time I had turned 50 or 60 laps I realized there was something seriously wrong and that I had
better pit! [Laughs]. At one point I was actually passed when I made a mistake, and it infuriated me. There was no
way I was going to get off the track before I showed the guy who’s the fastest.”
By Saturday night Olson had to be physically assisted in order to walk. A visit to the military hospital in Shida, Taipei
revealed the extent of his injuries.
The American racer refused painkillers in the fear that it will slow down his reactions for the big race next weekend, and
has made an admirable effort in the short time he has to recover the little that he can before Round 3 and 4 of the
famous Formula Renault Championship. But did the American racer’s ego get in the way of common sense? After all,
what motivates a professional racer to drive to the point that he will accept extreme pain as “Part of the game”?
“People wouldn’t think it was strange if I was in the NBA and playing with a torn muscle, would they?” said Olson.
“Many people think that you get in a race car and drive it like you would drive fast on the highway. But out there you
are not pushing 3 G’s and 265kph [160mph] in a turn, making yourself dizzy from the loss of blood to your brain. In
racing, there are certain things you have to cope with, if you want to win.”
Last year, Formula Renault fans witnessed the first fatality in Formula Renault racing when a South American driver’s car
disintegrated at more than 265kph upon hitting the wall at Brazil’s Formula One track.
“When you are on the limit, the ragged edge all the time, of course there is some danger” said Olson. “But this is
something that you must accept, or just quit it and don’t do it anymore. Of course, in racing I have met people who
have decided that it wasn’t worth it, wasn’t worth the risks, and they quit. But I love what I do and this is my
profession, and the danger is part of the thrill that you get from racing, isn’t it? When I am really pushing the car, it is
like a dream. I feel every sensation from the vehicle, and the car becomes an extension of my body. If you focus on
the danger of racing, you will not drive well. All my life people have told me I drive like a madman, on the street and on
the track. Maybe I’ll meet my maker after hitting some wall on some track somewhere, but I’ll tell you something else –
what I do makes me feel alive.”
Quite a statement from Olson, who has no intention of canceling his pro race next week after his painful injury.
We wish him the best of luck in Shanghai.
For more information on Peter Olson, visit his website at www.peteolson.com.
For more information on Peter Olson/Racing for Children contact:
Christian Children’s Fund
Media Relations Contact Agent for Pete Olson:
Christian Children’s Fund
2821 Emerywood Parkway
Richmond, VA 23294
Olson Motorsports, LLC
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
Tel: + 886 9 3567 8609