CLA Selects Canadian Luge Team
The Canadian Luge Association named nine athletes to the senior Canadian Luge Team that will compete on the World Cup circuit this year following an extensive pre-season selection camp that wrapped up with an on-track race-off on Thursday morning in Calgary.
Olympians Regan Lauscher and Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta., and Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., will be counted on to lead the youthful Canadian contingent, that are, on average, 10 years younger than those athletes on top of the World Cup luge rankings.
"Canada has assembled a young team that brings a combination of Olympic and World Cup experience, with success at the junior international level," said Tim Farstad, director, Canadian Luge Association, who added the team will head to Europe on Saturday for a final training session before the opening race of the season. "With just 15 months away from the next Winter Games, this is a critical season to ensure our entire team gains the necessary experience and preparation required to achieve excellence in Turin."
The Canadian Luge Association will fill its Olympic quotas for the duration of the World Cup season. Canada will send three athletes to compete in both men's and women's singles, and will suit up two more teams to wear the maple leaf in men's doubles. With a focus on preparation for the 2006 Olympics, the team will will spend more time than usual training and competing alongside the world's best in Europe this winter.
The 24-year-old Lauscher will guide one the strongest trio of women Canada has ever pulled together for World Cup competition. Joining Lauscher will be 18-year-old Meghan Simister of Calgary, who will be competing in her second year on the senior circuit, and Calgary's Madison Dupuis, 17, who will round out the Canadian sleds in women's singles this season. Dupuis was the top woman overall throughout the selection camp.
"Heading into the 2002 Olympics, I was the lone woman in Canada training with the men's team," said Lauscher. "We now have a strong group of young girls pushing me every day, and it is a great environment to train in because we all hate to lose. We'll continue to work hard, push each other, and we will be striving as a team to knock off the Germans who are the best in the world."
Jeff Christie of Calgary will guide a rising young crop vying for a spot on the podium in the men's division. Calgary's Ian Cockerline, 20, will join the 21-year-old Christie in men's singles. Sam Edney, who is making his debut on the World Cup circuit, will round out the men's singles team. The 20-year-old Edney, one of Canada's most accomplished junior luge athletes, and leader in the men's selection camp, will also compete in doubles with 18-year-old partner, and fellow Calgarian, Gwyn Lewis. The twosome paired up to win a silver medal at the 2004 Junior Luge World Championships.
Edney and Lewis will be relying on the leadership of teammates and Olympic luge veterans, Grant Albrecht and Eric Pothier. Albrecht and Pothier, who had two fourth-place finishes last year, will be focused on stepping onto their first World Cup podium in 2005.
Walter Corey will continue to guide the Canadian squad in its journey towards winning Canada's first-ever Olympic luge medal. Corey, who has worked his way through the Canadian luge system as an athlete, and coach since 1995, will be joined at the helm of the Canadian program by assistant coaches Robert Fegg and Chris Moffat, who retired from luge after the 2002 Olympic Games. Moffat posted Canada's best ever Olympic luge result when he was fifth in Salt Lake City.
The Canadian Junior Luge Team will be selected November 14, 2004.
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.