Luge Canada

It's All Downhill From Here For Lugers

The Calgary SunFrom: Calgary Sun Sports Monday 1 November 1999

Things are looking up for luge in Canada. Or, given the nature of the sport, should we say they're looking down? Whatever. Put it this way: The future's never been brighter.

This we can illustrate with a story told by Calgarian Tyler Seitz, Canada's top luger. Seitz is good enough to have competed in the 1998 Olympics, but when it came to finding a sponsor, that seemed to mean nada.

This summer, he "did a good deed" for his next-door neighbour, Garry McCurdy, mowing the guy's lawn. McCurdy, owner of Bowness Auto Parts, wondered if there was anything he could do in return. Well, since you asked ... and voila, Bowness Auto Parts is now Seitz's major sponsor.

"A guy I've lived next door to for 20 years," marvelled Seitz. "And it will make a huge difference."

Yeah, and if that's not an omen, what is?

Seitz left for Germany yesterday with the rest of Canada's team for the start of the World Cup season. He's convinced there is an enormous upside to this group.

Personally, he feels on the verge of cracking the world top 10. Calgary brothers Chris and Mike Moffat both won junior World Cup overall titles in 1998-99. With head coach Marie Luise Rainer adding fellow Italian Karl Brunner as assistant -- the pair guided Italy to four medals at the '94 Olympics -- Seitz can't wait to get going.

"This is the best-looking season in October we've ever had," said Seitz, 23. "(Rainer) was a big addition to our team last year, and having another coach on board is going to be just phenomenal. CODA (Calgary Olympic Development Association) coming on board with their financial support is also huge."

You watch, says Seitz. In a few years, Canada will be a real, live, honest-to-goodness power in the sport.

"2002 may be a little too early, I'm the only one with Olympic experience," offered Seitz. "But by 2006, I can see us being a world dominating country."

The Europeans, who once dismissed Canada as a joke, are taking very seriously what the Moffats did.

"It all revolves around the almighty buck. Results get more money, which gets more results."

Seitz and Chris Moffat are joined on the senior team by Eric Pothier and Kristin Dyer. Mike Moffat heads the seven-person junior squad, with Grant Albrecht, Jeff Christie, Kyle Connelly, Ryan Paton, Regan Lauscher and Nicole Simon.

After three European events, the seniors will compete in the Calgary World Cup race, Dec. 6-12

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Reprinted with permission from The Calgary Sun
Copyright (c) 1999 The Calgary Sun and Tom Brennan