"Kory The Kid"Interviews Miami's #68 Goikoetxea Kory the Kid must ask Goiko a hundred questions,and he answers all of them.The interview covers Goiko
from age 8 to the present as far as his Jai-Alai playing.
NOTICE: This Interview
may not play on all browsers.Google would be the choice to hear it.
Goikoetxea,Has He Taken A Step Backwards?
What a tremendous Champion and role model he has been for the pari-mutuel sport of Jai-Alai,both in the United States and
Europe.Since he started in Miami over ten years ago he has been on a year round schedule that would burn out even the fittest
athlete.Playing 8 months in the states and 4 months in France and Spain.This has been going on for over 10 years and I have
asked myself,how in the world does he hold up and play at the level he does.I asked him this question about 3 years ago and
he said he gets enough rest between partido's,which for the most part are 35 single points and require tremendous endurance.
Three years ago Miami was running nine performances a week with just Tuesday's off.
I said to myself even iron breaks down if used to much or because of age.make no mistake about it,Goikoetxea is no ordinary
athlete,he is extremely disciplined and in exceptional condition.Even though he plays six days a week at Miami he still visits
the gym,he also cycles and swims, what dedication he has to stay in top physical condition and to keep his game finely tuned.
In horseracing Senor Horatio Luro use to always say don't squeeze the lemon dry,meaning don't run the horse to often or he
will come up empty in the stretch,where reserve energy is almost always needed to turn back late challengers. I realize in
a game like Jai-Alai with such a uncertain future,a player must make his money now,so this may be the reason for Goikoetxea
not taking much time off.He has been very fortunate and has avoided any serious injuries since turning professional,at least
I don't recall any.
I took a good look at the Miami stats and it is clear Lopez is applying some serious pressure and would
in all reality like to become the #-1 Pelotari in the world,he's four years younger then Goiko and has all the tools to dethrone
the presently best in the world.Lopez plays a really smooth game,has power to spare when needed,reads the competition like
the back of his own hand,he's where the pelota is thrown even though the idea is to throw it where the opposing player isn't.
to the Citrus he went into it with a .288 win percentage and a .663 %in the money.He was leading in overall wins,backcourt
wins and just two games behind Goiko in the Championship Singles.Lopez had won four Citrus's,now five.He also had a
partner that won the frontcourt doubles title at Miami,although not favored he possibly should have been.A quick glance at
Goiko's Miami stats,his win percentage prior to the Citrus was .169,a few points below his normal average,his in the money
.416.True these stats can change quickly when only 80 games have been played,but I feel strongly we're being sent a signal.
I think back,in 2009 for the Singles Championship Goikoetxea defeated Lopez in an all out war,and Lopez never could take the
lead and lost the match 30-26.Also in 2012,just last year another close one for the title played in Europe.This summer (2013)
I'm predicting lopez will win the Championship,providing they both qualify for the final.
Lopez 28 and Goikoetxea 32 should
be around for several years,and what great Champions both have been,it has been a pleasure following both of them.
Goikoetxea & Lopez Win The 2012 Annual R.B. Tournament ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Watch This Partido Played
@ Ft Pierce in 2010,Between Goikotxea/Irastorza Vs Aritz/Lopez,15 Points Click Here Partido
Goikoetxea defeats Lopez for his 10th straight singles title 30-28
"Congrats to both" August 2012
CAMPEONATO INDIVIDUAL CONSEJO MUNDIAL
Jornada (Day) 1
Goikoetxea 30 - 20 Lopez
Egiguren 30 - 17 Duke
Goikoetxea 30 - 28 Lopez Two Great Champions!!
Meet the Michael Jordan of Jai Alai
He's a nine-time world champion. His serve approaches 180 miles per hour. He has the chiseled physique and dreamy looks of
a matinee idol. So why haven't you heard of Iñaki Osa Goikoetxea? Because this elite athlete plays the all-but-forgotten sport
of jai alai. In another time and place, he could have been as fêted as Roger Federer or Tom Brady. Instead, he's just happy
to have a job.
By Howie Kahn,Photographs by Michael Schmelling
May 2012 Issue
Top: Goiko gets his game face on at the Orlando-Seminole fronton; Goiko (No. 8) and his fellow players go to battle in a match
at the Citrus Invitational in Orlando.
Also on Details.com:
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady on Football, Fatherhood, and Gisele Bündchen
The Best High School Athlete Ever?
Kentucky Derby Jockey Joe Talamo
Alex Rodriguez: Confessions of a Damned Yankee
From October to June, Iñaki OSA Goikoetxea—Goiko to his friends and admirers—plays professional jai alai six days
a week at a fronton behind the Miami International Airport. Built in 1926 and simply called Miami Jai-Alai, the ungainly sand-colored
facility looks like a South Florida riff on one of Saddam Hussein's concrete palaces. When it opens at noon, the spectators,
most of whom appear to be eligible for Social Security, begin arriving for the daily matinee performance. They hobble across
the lobby's liver-spotted tile to the betting windows, where they place wagers on the action in the cancha, the caged playing
court. Some never make it into the arena, instead slumping on black vinyl stools and watching the matches on closed-circuit
TV like gamblers at an off-track-betting parlor. "Miami Jai-Alai is known as the Yankee Stadium of our sport," Goiko says.
Then he pauses, considering what that reveals about the state of the game today. "Please, do not say anything bad about Miami
Jai-Alai," he adds.
Goiko is 31 years old, six feet three, and 220 pounds, with dark, serious eyes and thick black hair that dips over his brow
in a Superman curl. Like the sport he plays, he is Basque. He grew up in Zumaia, a humble fishing town about 20 miles west
of San Sebastián. Since going pro, he's won nine world titles—five in singles, four in doubles—at the tournaments
hosted in Europe by the International Federation of Basque Pelota, the closest thing jai alai has to a governing body. By
common assent, he is considered the best player in the history of the sport. "It's even better than having LeBron," says Juan
Ramón Arrasatte, the players' manager at Miami Jai-Alai and Goiko's boss. "With LeBron, you can talk about Kobe or others.
In this sport, nobody else comes close."
"Jordan doesn't have nine titles," Goiko observes, sounding more stoic than boastful. "Kobe doesn't have nine. LeBron has
none. Kelly Slater has eleven, so I have to catch up to him." He knows perfectly well that his sport is a speck compared with
the NBA or even pro surfing. "I play jai alai," he acknowledges. "I am not exactly famous." Miami Jai-Alai pays him an annual
salary in the five-figure range. He has no endorsement deals, no agent, no entourage, no groupies. He does have the single-word
nickname befitting a champ and his own bobblehead doll, which he proudly presents to me as a gift. And despite his obscurity,
he has the drive of a superstar athlete. "I'm always looking to find the monster in me," he says. "I win by finding the monster."
Cesta Punta World Championship opener.
Goiko was 7 the first time he picked up a cesta—the oblong basket of steam-bent chestnut wood and woven Pyrenees reeds
that jai alai players use to fling the goatskin-and-latex pelota at up to 180 miles per hour (boosters call it the fastest
sport in the world). "Jai alai wasn't even that popular in my town," Goiko says. "I played because my brothers played. I wanted
to be a professional surfer." But he also wanted to get out of school and didn't want to work on his father's fishing boat,
so when a scout from a now-defunct fronton in Milan offered him a contract at 16, he moved to Italy. Word of his talent spread,
and in 1997 he was invited to play in Newport, Rhode Island. From 1998 to 2002 he played in Orlando, then took his talents
At its peak in the 1970s, Miami Jai-Alai frequently drew crowds in excess of 10,000. But on this gorgeous, 80-degree Thursday
afternoon in late January, 16 athletes compete in front of 15 spectators. The upper tiers of the arena aren't even accessible.
Down below, the onlookers sit dotted along the 176-foot-long cancha. "Last call, place your bets," intones a voice over the
PA system, followed by an electronic countdown of slow, irregular bleeps that make it sound as if the whole place is hooked
up to a heart-rate monitor. The players wear numbered jerseys, heavy helmets, and white pants with red sashes. Using their
cestas, they produce powerful, caroming shots that have blown out knees and dislodged eyeballs. (In a 1986 episode of Miami
Vice, one even killed a man.) They dive to the floor and crash into walls trying to keep balls from bouncing twice or leaving
the court, which would result in losing the point. Through the screen that protects the crowd, they look like video-game characters—high-def
agglomerations of pixels that jump, lunge, and sling sine waves at the granite front wall.
But the spectators don't cheer for the heroics on the court. They cheer for their wagers, which fall under almost every betting
scheme imaginable—daily doubles, quinella boxes, exacta perfectas. "Let's get this shit together," one woman shouts
at Goiko as she paces the barren aisles. "I've been here for 40 fucking years. Get his ass out! Work it, baby!" The crowd's
indifference to the players' efforts can make jai alai seem like the loneliest sport in the world.
Because his serving shoulder is bothering him and he wants to be ready for the Citrus Invitational, a major tournament in
Orlando this weekend, Goiko plays conservatively and wins only one of five matches. "In Spain and France," he remarks afterward,
"they treat you like a professional." He still plays the sport in the Basque region and Biarritz from July to October. There
he can earn as much as $15,000 a month playing in front of fans who pay up to 50 euros for tickets to epic matches that end
at 35 points. In Miami, where admission is free, the matches end at seven or nine points and are played in a round-robin format
designed to maximize betting opportunities: Eight entrants (either singles players or doubles teams) compete, with two facing
off at a time and trying to score a point that will let them stay on the cancha to face the next seed. "Here, it's hardly
a sport," Goiko complains, "and they treat you like you are nothing."