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Canada's Jeff Christie Cracks Top-25 in Season Opener at Viessmann Luge World Cup

Media AdvisoryCanada's Jeff Christie solidified his position as one of the elite luge athletes in the world on Sunday. After qualifying to compete in the World Cup A race, Christie finished 21st on Sunday in the first men's singles race of the 2003-04 Viessmann Luge World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia.

The 20-year-old Christie of Calgary is competing in his first season of senior competition. Christie ranked second in the world on the junior circuit last year behind Canadian teammate and Calgarian Sam Edney.

"I had a solid first run against some tough times. For my first race of the season, I'm quite happy with how I slid today," said Christie. "I'm hungry to get into the top-12 and that will come with time because the training is going well and I feel better every race."

It was a tough international field that finished a close race with only four tenths of a second separating the top-10 results.

The Austrians continued their dominance of the opening weekend on the World Cup. After claiming podium finishes in yesterday's women's singles and men's doubles action, the Austrian flag was flying above the second-and third-place positions on the podium in the men's singles event. Italy's Armin Zoggeler won gold ahead of two Austrians, posting the fastest two-run time of the day at 1:38.385, while Rainer Margreiter finished second (1:38.579) and Markus Kleinheinz claimed third (1:38.622).

Sunday's race also featured the team competition in which two more runs were held, one women's and one men's doubles race. The best times from those events were added to the men's singles total. Canada finished 5th in that event after strong results from Madison Dupuis of Calgary and the men's double team of Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta. and Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta.

New Canadian head Coach, Walter Corey, is confident that his team, the youngest luge team in the world, is headed in the right direction.

"I was really happy with Jeff's first run, and he's only a few tenths away from being in the top-10," said Corey. "The team event was a great result for us and Madison made a big contribution after a solid week of training."

Along with a change in training schedules, which reduces the number of training runs for the higher-ranked lugers, there is also a new qualifying system for entry into the race. The top-10 seeds are automatically entered in the competition, and the remaining 40 athletes compete in a single qualifying race earlier in the week for the remaining 20 spots. Canada's Christie grabbed one of those final 20 spots.

The Canadian Luge Team heads to Altenberg, Germany for the next competition on the World Cup, November 22-23, 2003. The team will then come home to Calgary for the lone Canadian stop on the Viessmann Luge World Cup circuit, December 5-6, 2003.

MEN'S FINAL RESULTS

RankCountryNameTime
1ItalyArmin Zoggeler1:38.385
2AustriaRainer Margreiter1:38.579
3AustriaMarkus Kleinheinz1:38.622
4GermanyDavid Moller1:38.663
5LatviaKaspars Dumpis1:38.716
6RussiaAlbert Demtschenko1:38.739
7ItalyReinhold Rainer1:38.742
8USATony Benshoof1:38.766
9GermanyGeorg Hackl1:38.881
10GermanyJan Eichhorn1:38.850
21CanadaJeff Christie1:39.707


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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