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Canada's Lauscher Slides into Top-15 at Luge World Cup
-Germans continue dominance finishing one-two on the podium

Media AdvisoryCanada's Regan Lauscher kicked off the Olympic season by sliding into 15th spot in women's action at the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia on Saturday.

The 25-year-old veteran of the Canadian women's team, who calls Red Deer, Alta. home, posted times of 44.388 seconds and 44.291 for a two-run total of 1:28.679 - nearly one second back of the frontrunners. Lauscher, who put on more than three kilograms of body mass over the summer to improve on her critical start times which have plagued her throughout 10-year career, witnessed immediate results as she was the fourth fastest athlete out of the gate in both runs. Lauscher's starts were nearly half a second faster than last year.

"There was a lot of exciting things that came out of today for me - making this actually a very satisfying and exciting top-15 finish," said Lauscher, who made history last year becoming the first Canadian to win a silver medal at a luge World Cup. "My downfall was always my slow start and I worked hard over the summer to improve that - today I am seeing the results. I am maintaining pace with the top women in the world, the only thing pushing me back is a couple of small mistakes that I know I can correct. I am now really excited to get on the Olympic Track in Torino next week.

The German women continued their dominance on the luge World Cup, claiming the top-two spots on the podium in the season opener and extending their gold-medal winning streak to 57 consecutive events, which dates back to 1997. Silke Kraushaar, who set the track start record in Latvia in 2003, slid to gold on Saturday with a combined time of 1:27.680. Kraushaar saved her best for last, posting the fastest time of the day on her second run after blazing down the challenging Latvian track slowed down by frost at 43.836.

Joining Kraushaar on the podium was teammate and legendary luge athlete, Sylke Otto, in second spot (1:27.971), while Austria's Sonja Manzenreiter prevented the German sweep after sliding into third with a combined time of 1:28.052.

Calgary teenagers Madison Dupuis, 18, and Meaghan Simister, 19, were the only other female Canucks to suit up in Canada's Karbon race suits in Latvia. The two youngsters, who are both completing their second seasons on the World Cup, finished 19th and 20th respectively out of the 23 top sleds in the world that qualified for the race. Dupuis finished at 1:28.805, while Simister was 1:28.940

The Viessmann Luge World Cup continues on Sunday with men's singles where Canada's Jeff Christie will begin his journey toward the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

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.

Women's Singles Top-Five Results: (23 Sleds)
1.Silke Kraushaar, GER, 1:27:680; 2. Sylke Otto, GER, 1:27.971; 3. Sonja Manzenreiter, AUT, 1:28.052; 4. Anna Orlova, LAT, 1:28.150; 5. Anastasia Oberstolz-Antonova, ITA, 1:28.192.

Other Canadian Women's Results:
15.Regan Lauscher, CAN, 1:28:679; 19. Madison Dupuis, CAN, 1:28.805; 20. Meaghan Simister, CAN, 1:28.940.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Chris Dornan
CODA, Communications Specialist
C: 403-585-0254