FOR SALE: CANADIAN LUGE ATHLETES
Carrying a price tag of up to $300,000 per year for the team, the nation's top senior and junior luge athletes are hoping a national FOR SALE campaign will spark interest within corporate Canada to join their journey to the international podium.
The Canadian Luge Team remains one of the only sports in the winter lineup without a title sponsor, and we would love to have corporate Canada join our team for this exciting drive to the podium, said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association. We are not looking for millions or freebies, but would like to establish a close relationship with a company that can help give us the final nudge onto the podium, and ensure the success of our sport beyond 2010.
While officially on the open-market, Canada's luge athletes will wear FOR SALE sign decals on their helmets during the final two World Cup competitions of the season in Calgary and Whistler, B.C. in hopes of being scooped up.
We recognize this is a tough economic time for all Canadians, and nobody knows this better than the Canadian luge program, said Farstad. Our teams of senior and junior athletes have been finding a way to achieve excellence in our sport under tight financial constraints over the last two decades, but the time has come where we need a little more support to help us reach our goals.
Thanks to the generous financial support by Own the Podium and its corporate partners who have been the financial lifeline of the national program, Canadian luge athletes have edged their way up the world standings and are now knocking on the door of the international podium at all levels.
Up until a few years ago, our entire luge team could not afford to carry so much as a first-aid kit with us on the World Cup, said Regan Lauscher, who won a silver medal in 2005, the best-ever Canadian performance on the World Cup. Own the Podium funding has helped us recruit a world-leading coaching staff, and provided access to resources that have clearly helped significantly boost our performance. This support is proof that money turns into medals.
As a result, Canadian luge athletes have a handful of World Cup and Junior World Cup podium finishes under their belts, and each one of the World Cup team members have also slid their way into the top-10 on the international standings. In a sport that is won or lost in blinks of an eye, getting into that elusive top-10 is the crack in the door to drive for the podium.
Lauscher and her World Cup teammates launched the FOR SALE campaign on top of a community toboggan hill in Calgary on Tuesday to showcase the grassroots of the sport in Canada. Clad in national team Karbon snowsuits, and their newly-decaled competitive helmets, the team enjoyed a couple of recreational runs down the hill on magic carpets with school children who represent the future of the sport.
Many believe luge is obscure in Canada, but I believe more Canadians actually participate in the grassroots of our sport than hockey or skiing, said Lauscher during the media conference, who was first introduced to natural luge on a tobogganing hill in her hometown of Red Deer, Alta. It is community hills like this where millions of Canadians enjoy our sport on all kinds of sleds each winter and it is on these hills that spark the Olympic dream in our youth.
Canadians searching for a way to support the Canadian Luge Team will not have to pay full price to join the national squad's quest for gold, thanks to a new comedy web-based series called I Love a Luger.
Happy Valentine's Day to all the lugers of the world! Unfolding over the next 12 months, the new comedy web series I Love a Luger, which can be viewed at www.ilovealuger.com on the Internet, will help engage all Canadians in the journey to 2010.
I Love a Luger follows the comedic adventures of Nikki, a staunch advocate for the luge cause. Obsessed with a foreign luge athlete, Nikki is convinced she is marrying him in Whistler next year. Nikki will stop at nothing when it comes to love and her luger - from learning the twists and turns of an elite luger's life, to sabotaging the Canadian Luge Team. Nikki's obsessive quest will climax in a special six-part luge-venture filmed on location in Whistler.
The Canadian team will make occasional appearances throughout the world-unique series, which includes music videos of original luge tunes, journalist-style on-the-street interviews, Nikki's personal video log, riveting updates on This Week in Luge, downloads, interactive games and contests to test your luge skills.
I Love a Luger is also a web-based campaign that gives back. Nikki's Sponsor a Luger campaign will invite viewers to do just that send in a buck or two in support of your favourite luger. Different donation levels will come with special on-site recognition and a gift from Nikki and the Canadian Luge Team.
The Canadian Luge Association's new initiatives officially kick off the I Love Luge Calgary World Cup. In an effort to draw more spectators to this thrilling Olympic sport, the Canadian Luge Association will transform the exciting 360-degree Kreisel corner on the track at Canada Olympic Park into one of the best parties in the city with beer gardens, activities, and live music by The Mocking Shadows.
Canada will field three men's singles, three women's singles and two doubles sleds at home in Calgary. Calgarians, Jeff Christie, Sam Edney, and Ian Cockerline will lead the charge for the men's team, while World Cup Alex Gough, of Calgary, who is coming off a fourth-place finish at the World Championships last week will lead a trio of Canadian women including Regan Lauscher, of Red Deer, Alta., and Meaghan Simister, also of Calgary. Calgary's Chris and Mike Moffat will form one doubles sled, while Grant Albrecht, of Red Deer, Alta., and Calgary's Nick Olson will team up for their first World Cup doubles start this year.
The women's race starts on Friday, February 13 at 7:55 p.m., while the men's singles and doubles sleds hit the track on Saturday, February 14 at 2:55 p.m.
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.