Tomas Mundarain already passed up one chance to compete at the Olympics.
Now the 33-year-old Clovis man wants another opportunity. No matter if it’s in a different decade, or a different sport.
Last month Mundarain was among 91 elite athletes invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to undergo five days’ of screening and sport-specific training in bobsled, skeleton, track cycling and rugby. At the conclusion, one male and one female athlete were invited to join national team camps in each of those sports.
Cameras captured nearly every waking moment, and a resulting documentary, “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” aired Friday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports.
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Mundarain is glad for that, because he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement stipulating he wouldn’t reveal whether he was selected until after the program airs.
“It went well for me, but I can’t go into details,” said Mundarain, who was tested in track cycling. “I can say it was a great experience.”
News break: Mundarain earned an alternate spot on the team.
Back in 2004, while running sprints for the Fresno State track team, Mundarain qualified for the Summer Games for his native Venezuela. However, he chose not to go to Athens for personal reasons. He didn’t want to be associated with that country’s president, Hugo Chavez.
Even though Mundarain kept competing after college, trying his hand in MMA, road cycling and triathlon, he figured he’d never get another shot at the Olympics.
Then last year, while watching the Rio Games on TV, he got his first glimpse at track cycling, on an oval velodrome, and thought to himself, “Hey, I’d be good at that.”
Turns out, he was. Mundarain headed to Los Angeles and got certified to race on a velodrome. In a matter of months he was beating some of the fastest guys on the West Coast and soon nabbed the Team USA scout camp invite.
Mundarain says that he was the top cyclist at the scouting camp on a special stationary bike, generating 2,400 watts on back-to-back tests.
Alas, Mundarain says on his social page, “My age was a concern, so I was not chosen as the winner.”
If Mundarain had been among the eight athletes chosen, he would have been eligible to receive financial, medical and training support from cycling’s national governing body.
Instead, the married father of one, who works as a sales rep for a surgical device company, can still go to the Games. Only without national team support during the next two years of qualifying.
“If you look at most guys in their mid 30s, they’re done. They’re retired,” Mundarain said. “But this is a dream I don’t want to give up on.”