Canadian Luge Squad Set to Host the World On Home Track in Calgary
-Calgary World Cup will have German flavour wit
Calgary-With the 2006 Olympic Winter Games less than three months away, Canada's elite luge athletes will be kicking into the next gear when the third race of the Viessmann Luge World Cup slides into Calgary's Canada Olympic Park, December 9-10, 2005.
"This World Cup race in Calgary is another critical step in our journey towards achieving excellence in Torino this February," said Tim Farstad, director of the Canadian Luge Association. "Competing at home will give our athletes the competitive advantage they need to meet the necessary qualification standards. The team is excited to be home and ready for this Olympic preview."
The Canadian Luge Team have been on a whirlwind tour of Europe to kick off the World Cup season, which included a race on the tough Olympic track in Cesana Pariol, Italy, marking the first time the world's top sliders have experienced the 1,435-metre-long track that will be used at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
Olympians Regan Lauscher and Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta., and Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., lead a youthful contingent of Canadian luge athletes, who are, on average, 10 years younger than those athletes on top of the World Cup luge rankings.
Another pair of veterans from the Salt Lake City Games, brothers Chris and Mike Moffat, recently returned to the luge track in stunning fashion, placing sixth in doubles in their first World Cup race in more than three years. The sibling duo sewed up qualification standards to be eligible to be named to the Olympic Team with an eighth-place finish in Altenberg, Germany, November 27. Along with then singles partner Eric Pothier, 26-year-old Chris posted Canada's best ever Olympic luge result in Salt Lake City, with a fifth-place finish.
The 25-year-old Lauscher, a five-time Canadian champion and Canada's first ever World Cup silver medallist, guides the strongest team of women Canada has ever pulled together for World Cup competition. Joining Lauscher is 19-year-old Regina native Meaghan Simister, now in her third year on the senior circuit, and Calgary's Madison Dupuis, 18, winner of the Canadian women's title for the 2004-05 season. Rounding out the sleds is 18-year-old newcomer, Alex Gough of Calgary.
"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. It's the perfect setting in which to excel when you're surrounded by such a dedicated group of great athletes."
Calgary's Jeff Christie, the national champion for the 2004-05 season, continues to lead the squad in men's singles competition on the World Cup circuit after the first three races of the 2005-06 campaign. The 22-year-old Vancouver native leads a rising crop of young hopefuls vying to slide their way to stellar results on the World Cup circuit.
Walter Corey continues to guide the Canadian squad in its journey towards winning Canada's first-ever Olympic luge medal. A veteran of the sport who worked his way through the Canadian luge system, Corey has guided the national team since 1995 and will be joined at the helm of the Canadian program by assistant coach Robert Fegg, who raced five years with the German National Team.
In a nod to the sport's competitive roots in the alpine countries of Europe, the Calgary World Cup will have a German flair to it. Media and spectators to the World Cup will be able to tempt their tastebuds with that most German of cuisine - bratwurst. The Canadian Luge Association will be offering beer and bratwurst at the event for $1.
"It will be a festival atmosphere, much like it is in Germany during World Cup races," said Farstad. "In addition to being a great sporting event, the World Cup race in Calgary will also be a festive event with wide appeal that will include food, drinks and music."
The action on the track gets underway on Friday, December 9, at 5 p.m. with doubles competition. The women's event follows from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., with an awards ceremony to follow at 9 p.m. in the Festival Tent at Canada Olympic Park.
The men's singles event kicks off the following day, Saturday, December 10, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The team competition starts at 7:30 p.m., with women, men and doubles sliding in that order, followed by the awards ceremony in the Festival Tent at 8 p.m.
For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
CODA, Communications Specialist