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CANADIAN LUGE ATHLETES BEGIN PRE-SEASON JOURNEY TO 2006-07 WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN

-Christie, Simister and Moffats claim second consecutive luge start titles--Christie, Simister and Moffats claim second consecutive luge start titles-

A track record fell in Canada Olympic Park's Ice House Friday morning when the Canadian Luge Association held its third annual Edworthy pre-season start competition - the first critical test for sliding hopefuls aiming to earn a berth on the Canadian team entry for the 2006-07 World Cup campaign.

A quartet of senior team veterans and 2006 Olympians continued their dominance of the event for the second consecutive year, with Jeff Christie, Meaghan Simister and the duo of Chris and Mike Moffat all earning their second straight titles in the men's singles, women's singles and doubles disciplines, respectively.

"Throughout the team there were numerous personal bests recorded, which is very exciting for this time of year as we look ahead to the 2006-07 season," said Walter Corey, head coach of the Canadian Luge Team. "The overall team performance was very good, which I think is a reflection of the athletes' solid preparation through the summer months."

The Moffat brothers set a new Ice House record in doubles competition, with the sliding siblings eclipsing the mark of 2.899 seconds they set last year. The two-time Olympians posted a time of 2.895 on their first trip through the handles and concluded the competition with a two-start combined total of 5.856. Another duo of two-time Olympians, Grant Albrecht and Eric Pothier, slid into the second-place position with a total of 5.990 seconds, while the pairing of Marshall Savill and Aaron Christensen clocked in at 6.067 for third-place honours.

With 17 athletes vying for start supremacy in men's singles, and eight in the women's category, the annual competition featured a number of junior and development youngsters anxious to earn a berth on the senior circuit. Nick Olson, 19, a three-year member of the national junior team, impressed coaches with a third-place performance in the men's singles discipline that pitted him against three 2006 Olympians, as well as other senior-level athletes from the 2005-06 World Cup squad. "Nick Olson had an excellent competition," said Corey. "As a group, the young athletes performed very well."

Christie, 23, was just fractions away from bettering the previous men's singles start record in the Ice House, the world's only refrigerated indoor training facility for the sliding sports. Christie vaulted through the handles in the first heat for a time of 2.827 seconds, just a shade off the benchmark of 2.822 he set during last year's start championship. He finished with a two-start total of 5.692 seconds to claim the men's singles crown. Rounding out the top-three men's singles finishers was Sam Edney, a teammate of Christie's on the 2006 Canadian Olympic Luge Team, who finished second after posting a two-start total of 5.763 seconds.

Simister slid to her second consecutive start championship in women's competition, with the 19-year-old Regina native posting a combined two-start time of 6.128. She was joined in the top-three by fellow Olympians Regan Lauscher and Alex Gough, who earned the second and third-place spots, respectively.

The critical Edworthy luge start competition is the first phase of a pre-season training camp to determine which athletes will carry the Canadian flag as national luge team members for the 2006-07 World Cup campaign. In addition to ongoing dry land training, all prospective team members will compete in a series of on-track race-offs at Canada Olympic Park, October 15, 22 and 25.
The CODA track crew has worked diligently in recent weeks installing ice on the Olympic Track, with the world-class training and competition facility for Canada's luge, bobsleigh and skeleton athletes set to open Tuesday, October 10.

The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. In partnership with CODA, the Canadian Luge Association operates the Olympic Luge Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, which develops our nation's high-performance luge athletes and promotes the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Doug McIntyre
Media and Public Relations
Canadian Luge Association
T: 403-247-5447
E-mail: qzpvagler@pbqn.pn