In the USA, the most famous bobsledders might still be the guys from Cool Runnings, but as one of the only Latino and Mexican Americans competing in the 2018 Olympics, Carlo Valdes might just be out to change all that. The 28-year-old athlete hails from Newport Beach, Calif., and competed as a javelin thrower for UCLA before switching sports to bobsledding.
EW caught up with Valdes to talk about all his own pop culture must list that helps him get “fired up” or take his mind off a hard day of training. He hits the course as part of the 4-man competition on Friday, Feb. 23 (Saturday in PyeongChang) starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
1. Clash Royale
“We can’t really bring stuff like Xboxes or consoles or PS4s on tour with us, so what we do is we actually do a lot of Clash Royale on our phones,” Valdes says of what he and his teammates like to do together for fun. “That’s one thing that the whole men’s team plays. We’re all in the same clan, and we always fire up two games a day. Sometimes we play a lot. That kind of keeps us busy or keeps our mind off things when we’re not doing anything bobsled related.” When they are back at their home base training in Lake Placid, they have access to game consoles and play a wide assortment of video games when they’re not lifting or sledding, including Halo, Destiny, and Madden.
2. Superhero shows
Valdes says his favorite TV shows all feature superheroes. “The comic book TV shows, those are the ones that I really enjoy,” he says. “I’m really into the CW shows, like Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl — I just started watching that. And then the Marvel series on Netflix. Like Daredevil, that’s probably one of my favorite shows by far, and then The Defenders.” Valdes also includes Marvel’s Runaways and Gotham on his must list.
3. The Dark Knight
Valdes’ superhero love extends to movies, too. “One of my favorite movies is The Dark Knight; that’s one hell of a performance by Heath Ledger. A lot of people love that movie. A lot of the Marvel movies are cool,” he adds.
4. Heavy metal
“I listen to a lot of hardcore metal, especially before races,” Valdes says. Some of his favorite bands include The Ghost Inside, Breakdown of Sanity, Parkway Drive, August Burns, Red, Bury Tomorrow, Wage War, and Erra. “There’s a bunch of bands I listen to that get me fired up… like Disturbed, Metallica, classic rock stuff you hear on like Guitar Hero… Mainstream pop doesn’t [appeal to me] just because I need a unique sound for me to enjoy.”
While Valdes says he loves superhero TV shows and films, he’s also a big fan of things that strike his funny bone when it comes to movies. “I’ll mainly watch a ton of comedies,” he says. “Anything with Will Ferrell in it [or] Jim Carrey. Step Brothers, Talladega Knights, all those movies, Tropic Thunder — there’s just a whole list of movies that I love with those guys in it.”
6. The Incredible Hulk
Though Valdes likes to maintain a balanced diet of superhero fare, he says he’s most obsessed with the Incredible Hulk because his powers would directly impact his abilities as an athlete. “If I were to be a superhero, it’d probably be the Hulk, just because of his superhuman abilities: super strength, power, stuff like that, being able to run and jump insanely high and fast,” he says. “I always think it’d be cool to be the Hulk, but I never really think about it when I train because if I were like [him] then I’d probably be in the NFL or doing some high profile sport besides bobsled.”