Luge Association Submits Olympic Roster to Canadian Olympic Team
-Combination of veteran leadership and youth zone
Three men, three women and two doubles teams will wear the maple leaf in Torino to fill Canada's Olympic quota in luge. Olympians Regan Lauscher and Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta., Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., and Chris and Mike Moffat of Calgary will be counted on to lead the youthful contingent of Canadian luge athletes, who are, on average, 10 years younger than their international rivals.
"In 2002 our team posted its best ever Olympic results and since then we have been threatening for a spot on the World Cup podium in each race," said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association, who added the team has won two World Cup medals since the 2002 Games including Regan Lauscher's silver medal performance last year. "For a number of our athletes, it will be their first exposure to the Olympics, and it's a position they've earned through hard work and strong performances on the World Cup circuit. Our results have shown that Canadian luge athletes are no longer here just to show up and put on the suit - we want to be on the Olympic podium."
The 25-year-old Lauscher, a six-time Canadian champion and Canada's first ever World Cup silver medallist, will lead the strongest team in its history. She will be joined in Torino by a talented pair of teenage competitors, 19-year-old Meaghan Simister of Regina and 18-year-old Alex Gough of Calgary. Now in her third year on the World Cup circuit, Simister has shown steady development on the sliding track posting the fastest start times in numerous World Cup races this season - a feat never done by a Canadian luge athlete. Meanwhile, newcomer Alex Gough, in only her first year with the senior team, has garnered impressive international results, including an 11th-place finish last month during World Cup competition in Calgary.
"Heading into the 2002 Olympics, I was the lone woman in Canada training with the men's team," said Lauscher, who added winning the nation's first ever World Cup silver medal last year gives her additional confidence heading into the Olympics. "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."
Fresh off his best career World Cup performance, Calgary's Jeff Christie will be counted on to lead a men's squad brimming with potential. The 22-year-old slider has consistently been Canada's men's singles leader on the World Cup track the last two seasons, and will guide a rising crop of talented athletes in a pair of 21-year-old Calgary natives, Sam Edney and Ian Cockerline. One of Canada's most accomplished junior luge athletes, Edney recently posted his two best career finishes in men's singles on the World Cup tour after shifting his energies exclusively to the discipline after formerly competing in doubles competition as well.
It's in the doubles discipline where the Canadian Olympic luge team truly boasts a wealth of veteran savvy. Leading the charge for the Canadian doubles contingent are Calgary brothers Chris and Mike Moffat, both of whom slid for Canada at the 2002 Games. The sibling duo has posted stellar World Cup results this season after returning from a three-year hiatus from the sport. Older brother Chris, 26, recorded Canada's best ever Olympic luge result in 2002 with then doubles partner Eric Pothier, with the duo posting a fifth-place finish. Pothier, 26, a native of Airdrie, Alta., will make his Olympic return in Torino with doubles partner Grant Albrecht, a 24-year-old native of Red Deer, Alta. Albrecht and Mike Moffat, 23, teamed up at the 2002 Games for a 12th-place finish.
Head coach Walter Corey will continue 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 2004 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.
Canada's Olympic luge athletes will head to Europe on December 31, 2005 where they will begin their final journey to Torino. The Canadian Olympic Committee will officially name Canada's Olympic Team on January 26, 2006.
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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
CODA, Communications Specialist