The 28-year-old quips it’s nice to “be on both sides of the fence” and working with the Canadian luge squad in training, but he makes it clear where his loyalty will always lie when it comes to competition.
"It's surreal when everyone gets together and in the Aussie kit,” Ferlazzo says of representing Australia at the Olympic Games, “It's fantastic. I love it.”
Ferlazzo's unique and novel sporting story is that he grew up in Townsville, in far North Queensland, where it’s not unusual for temperatures to soar above 30 degrees celsius in winter. He took up luge at 15, by “luck of the draw” he explains, when his mum had a chance meeting in a pilates class with a former luge athlete who was spruiking the sport.
Ferlazzo lugged a wheeled training sled from Sydney to Townsville and started hurtling down the city’s iconic Mt Stuart.
This background is significant when you consider it in context of his new partnership with the Canadian luge squad. Over his athlete journey, Ferlazzo has gone from being somewhat of a sporting outlier to a highly respected competitor on the international circuit.
“I'm in partnership with the Canadian team now,” Ferlazzo says. “We’re working really well together, like the head coach and the sled builder in that team. We all get along, it's a fantastic relationship.
“It's a rebuild for myself, now training with them, but it's also rebuilding in their team and their Federation. So it's nice to be a part of that and be on both sides of the fence. I'm one of the old athletes in that group and that team. All the other athletes are young and I was brought over by the coach and sled tech, so it's nice to be on the athlete side and then also get a chance to see the coach’s and staff perspective too."
Australia’s first Olympic luge athlete, at the age of just 19, Ferlazzo has got better with every Games. He was 33rd in his Olympic debut, in Sochi 2014, 28th at PyeongChang 2018, then 16th in Beijing last year.
"It's tracking excellently,” Ferlazzo says of his start to this new Olympic cycle.
“The next world champs are in Altenburg, Germany [at the start of 2024] so that's the next big race for me. There's 10 World Cup races that I plan to go to next season and just keep it moving in the right general direction. The four year plan I wrote after the Games is going to plan at the moment, I’ve ticked all the boxes for the first part of the quad [four year Games cycle].”
Ferlazzo may be the first luge athlete from Far North Queensland, but he hopes he’s not the last. Last year he toured schools in Far North Queensland inspiring kids with his story.
“I was 15-years-old [when I took up the sport]. I was always up for an adventure, trying something new and also always quite athletic, and so it just kind of rolled on. I fell in love with the sport as soon as I tried it, and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.”