There's something about Josh Lakatos and fast circles: He drives on them, hangs out in them and shoots at them. Lakatos, 27, earned a silver medal at the Atlanta Games in trapshooting, a discipline in which he takes two shots at each of 150 flying clay saucers. His passion, though, is midget-car racing. He wound up upside down on an Indiana track in July. "Got a pretty cool picture out of it," he says. Against his coaches' wishes, Lakatos was still racing in early September. "I don't ask permission," he says. "Cool beans? [Lakatos-speak for, That O.K. with you?] 'Cause I'm racing anyway."
Lakatos almost pulled out of the U.S. trials in June because of a bad back. "I got no back muscles," he says, "so my ass and legs do all the work." After undergoing daily three-hour therapy sessions in July, he spent three weeks in Dubai, where he trained sheik and fellow Olympian Ahmed Al-Maktoum. The sheik's family spent $250,000 refurbishing his club shooting range to duplicate the one in Sydney. "The sheiks live in palaces and buy cartridges a million at a time instead of 4,000 like me," Lakatos says. "They're kind of stylin'." It's an incongruous style for Lakatos, who sports an Olympic rings tattoo on his back, has a screen saver that reads YOU'VE GOT TO BE AN ANIMAL and co-owns a Pasadena auto shop with his father, Steve. "I'm a grease monkey at heart," he says.
And a pretty straight shooter.