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Canadian Luge Athletes Begin Journey to Torino
-Dupuis and Christie win first titles, Albrecht and Pothier return

Media AdvisoryAs Simon and Garfunkel once crooned, “The nearer your destination, the more you’re slip-sliding away,” a time-honoured nugget of wisdom that held special resonance on Thursday morning for Canada’s luge athletes.

That’s because the icy road to the ultimate destination of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games officially started today for the current crop of sliding hopefuls, with the Canadian Luge Association holding its second annual Edworthy pre-season start competition at Canada Olympic Park’s Ice House. The event was the first of a three-part training camp to determine who will compete on the national team at World Cup events this season, and ultimately lead them on a crusade to qualifying for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The second portion – dryland training – of the process will take place on Friday.

And a number of top Canadian luge athletes could feel confident they slid a little nearer to their destination after turning in impressive performances that saw three track records melted in the Ice House.

Jeff Christie, the 2005 Canadian men’s singles champion, twice bettered the previous men’s singles track record of 2.872 he set last year, sliding to times of 2.825 in his first run and 2.822, the new benchmark, in his second go-round.

“The Ice House is a great facility,” said Christie after breaking the previous record. “To have this availability to train when we need it, it’s definitely a good thing for us.”

Christie’s combined top-two times left him at the 5.647 mark, good for top spot in men’s singles. Sliding into the second and third places, respectively, were Sam Edney with 5.667 and Ian Cockerline with 5.923.

Edney, incidentally, also shattered the old record twice, tallying 2.826 and 2.841 seconds in his top two of three runs.

A new record was also set in women’s singles after Meaghan Simister posted a 2.985 to beat the 3.096 mark set by Madison Dupuis last October.

Simister’s combined two-run time of 5.994 put her tops in the Edworthy pack for women’s singles, followed by Amanda Bryne with 6.143.

Dupuis and 2002 Olympian, Regan Lauscher, tied for third, with both sliders recording a cumulative two-run time of 6.152.

Lauscher, who has her sights set for on a return to the Olympics this February in Torino, Italy, improved her best start time significantly from last year’s Edworthy event, from 3.201 to 3.061.

The Ice House was also the Nice House for brothers Chris and Mike Moffat in doubles competition, with the sibling duo twice eclipsing the mark of 2.993 set two years ago by Grant Albrecht and Eric Pothier.

The Moffats slid to a time of 2.901 on their first run, and 2.899 on their second to earn a top overall time of 5.80.

Second-place finishers Albrecht and Pothier, meanwhile, also twice bettered their old record, recording times of 2.921 and 2.933 on their first and third trips down the track.

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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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Chris Dornan
CODA, Communications Specialist
T: 403-247-5423
C: 403-585-0254
Tim Farstad
Program Coordinator
Olympic Luge Training Centre
T: 403-247-9884