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Young Canadian Lugers Post Fastest Start Times and Solid Results Amongst Tough International Field
-Austria, Germa

Media AdvisoryCanada's high-performance luge athletes grabbed the start handles and posted world-leading push-start times on Saturday to kick off the 2003-04 campaign of the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia.

The Canadian contingent, the world's youngest luge team, were led by veterans, Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta. and Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., in the men's doubles event. The Canadian duo hopped on a new sled, which they made together this summer, and blasted out of the gate posting the two fastest push-start times of the day. While the Canadians finished 10th with a two-run time of 1:27.474, they recognize a slick sled and strong start times are the first ingredients to success.

"Training in CODA's Ice House in Calgary over the summer definitely gave us an edge in the starts over the Europeans today," said Albrecht, who adds the Ice House is an indoor push-start training facility. "We know we are amongst the best starters in the world and we know we have a good sled. We would have liked to carry more of that speed down the course, but that will come with time, we're happy with our result today."

The Austrians celebrated early success to the new season after capturing the gold and bronze in men's doubles action at Sigulda. Linger and Linger posted the fastest two-run time of the day at 1:26.493, while Schiegl and Schiegl were third at 1:26.776. Italians Oberstloz and Gruber were sandwiched in the middle on the podium in second place with a time of 1:26.570.

Meanwhile, Canada's lone entry in the women's singles competition on Saturday also put together two of the fastest starts of the day. Regina's Meaghan Simister, who is making her first full-time appearance on the senior World Cup, had a respectable two-run time of 1:30.230. Simister, who was among the leaders out of the gate with the sixth and third fastest push-start times in the two runs on the day, crossed the line in 20th place. The 17-year-old, one of the youngest competitors in the field, is in new territory this season after being among the best in the world on the junior circuit last year.

"I learned a big lesson today there is little room for error when competing against the world's best, and I always have to put together two consistent runs," said Simister, who had trouble on her opening run of the day. "This is great experience for me as every week I'm putting myself up against the best and most experienced athletes in the world."

Silke Kraushaar of Germany won the women's singles race with a time of 1:26.452. Kraushaar's teammate Sylke Otto was second at 1:26.579, while Austria's Veronika Halder locked up third with a time of 1:26.955.

The Viessmann Luge World Cup continues on Sunday in Sigulda with the men's singles event. Jeff Christie will be sliding in Canadian colours. Christie, who is also making his full-time debut on the senior team, was second in the overall junior World Cup rankings last year.

MEN'S DOUBLES RESULTS

RankCountryNameTime
1AustriaLinger/Linger1:26.493
2ItalyOberstloz/Gruber1:26.570
3AustriaSchiegl/Schiegl1:26.776
4ItalyPlankensteiner/Haselriede1:26.841
5GermanySchmidt/Forker1:27.021
6SlovakiaMick/Marx1:27.043
7GermanyLeitner/Resch1:27.083
8RussiaNevmergiski/Prohorov1:27.418
9USAGriffal/Joye1:27.429
10CanadaALbrecht/Pothier1:27.474


WOMEN'S FINAL RESULTS:

RankCountryNameTime
1GermanySilke Kraushaar1:26.452
2GermanySylke Otto1:26.579
3AustriaVeronika Halder1:26.955
4LatviaAnna Orlova1:27.030
5AustriaSonia Manzenreiter1:27.236
6GermanyAnke Wischnewski1:27.348
7UkraineKarsten Albert1:27.413
8AustriaLiliya Ludan1:27.483
9USANina Reithmeyer1:27.805
10ItalyBrenna Margol1:27.815
20CanadaMeaghan Simister1:30.230


The Canadian Luge Associaton 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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