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Canada's jeff christie named athlete representative for the international luge federation sport commission

Canada's Jeff Christie may still be fractions of a seconds away from sliding to his first World Cup luge podium appearance, but his breakout season welcomed another honour that will allow him to help steer his sport internationally. Christie has been selected by the world's elite luge athletes to represent them on the International Luge Federation (FIL) - Sport Commission, the Canadian Luge Association announced on Tuesday.

Every four years, several athletes are nominated by the FIL to run for the lone athlete position on the Commission. Each participating country is given one vote and the selected representative is based on those votes. As an athlete representative, the 24-year-old Christie is required to attend the Sport Commission, and the FIL Congress to weigh-in on issues and discussions surrounding the luge community.

I am absolutely flattered to have been voted by my peers to represent them in this leadership role, said Christie, who has consistently slid his way near the top of the result lists on the World Cup circuit this season. I look forward to working for all of the athletes, and doing my best for them. I think it is really important, and beneficial, to have a Canadian voice at the table. Canadians are well respected worldwide, and bring a lot of what is good in sport and expected at international competitions.

Fresh into his new role, Christie has already organized meetings with athletes from other nation's to open a discussion around what the athletes feel is important for the sport.

My goal is to try to get athletes a lot more involved with where the sport is headed in the future around the world, said the Vancouver native. I'm taking this position very seriously, and want to take the critical steps necessary to be sure to represent what the athletes clearly want, not just what I think they want.

This is a fitting end to a breakout season, which ended this past weekend in Sigulda, Latvia, for the leader of the Canadian men's luge squad. Building off the experience gained from his first trip to the Olympic Winter Games in 2006, Christie is now a legitimate podium contender each time he grabs the start handles for a World Cup race. Christie completed the World Cup season with four top-10 finishes in eight races, including a sixth-place finish on his home track in Calgary.

Christie joins Canada's Tim Farstad, executive director of the Canadian Luge Association, as the second Canuck on the FIL Sport Commission. Farstad was named to the Commission in 2002.

We're thrilled that Jeff's peers have nominated him to represent them as a member of the Sport Commission, said Farstad. Jeff will now be able to participate in a number of influential discussions and provide an important voice for Canadian athletes which we believe is critical, especially as Canada gets set to host the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

The International Luge Federation's Sport Commission consists of 10 bodies made up of an athlete representative, coaches and luge executives. The role of the Commission is to discuss rules of the sport at international and Olympic competitions, along with race procedures and formats, and to continue to find ways to improve it around the world.

The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. The Canadian Luge Association is responsible for developing our nation's high-performance luge athletes and promoting the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Chris Dornan
Media and Public Relations
Canadian Luge Association
T: 403-470-9546