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SEARCH IS ON FOR NEXT CANADIAN LUGER

Canadian Luge Association taps into B.C. youth for sport recruitment campsVancouver—The sport of luge is hoping to tap into the Olympic afterglow on Canadas West Coast to find the next crop of development athletes by holding unique summer and winter camp experiences, marking one of the first legacy initiatives of the 2010 Games.

Canadas Olympic luge athletes returned to Vancouver on Wednesday, a mere three months after the Olympic torch was extinguished, to help the Canadian Luge Association launch its Western Canadian recruitment program at a media conference with many luge rookies present, including the first child in British Columbia to slide on the Whistler track.

The summer luge camp was the foundation of my Olympic dream, and I have never looked back, said 14-year-old Pemberton resident Jenna Spencer at the media conference. Spencer was enrolled in a luge camp by her parents three years ago, and her progression in the sport led to her fore-running the womens Olympic training runs at the Whistler Sliding Centre last March  something she never even dreamed she would do when she took her first run at camp when she was only 11. Those first few runs had me hooked.

Its that passion that the Canadian Luge Association is looking to foster through its selection of recruitment camps. Camp dates in British Columbia this summer are slated for June 12, July 10, August 14 and September 11. Cost of each camp is $30 per athlete. Participants can register online at www.luge.ca.

The young athletes, ages eight-to-14, will receive an introduction to the sport of luge and its equipment prior to participating in a series of dry-land physical testing exercises to showcase agility, flexibility and all-round athletic ability. Each session culminates with a wheel-sliding session on a start ramp, which the Olympians brought with them to demonstrate at Wednesdays media event, to build familiarity on the luge sled. Athletes showing a willingness to learn, combined with strong potential in the sport, will be invited to participate in an on-ice winter camp.

The future of the sport of luge in Canada has experienced huge highs and lows in recent months, with the nations newest track coming under fire following the tragic death of a Georgian luger on the opening day of the Olympic Games, and the national luge team attracting its first-ever sponsor in Fast Track Capital just months before as a result of a nation-wide For Sale campaign.

Were here to say that luge is not only a safe sport, but the future of the sport is in Canadas youth  and were here to find and develop the next generation of Canadian luge medallists, said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association. With world-leading coaching, and a long-term athlete development model which starts with kids as young as eight, Canada has made huge progress in the sport, and is now knocking on the door of the podium in international competition.

One of three Olympians on-hand to launch the recruitment drive in British Columbia was Sam Edney, who posted the best-ever result in mens singles at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when he was seventh.
Growing up in Calgary, I fell in love with the adrenaline and speed of riding my toboggan down the slopes at our community playground. Unlike thousands of other Canadians who experience my sport on similar hills across the country, I had the legacy of the 1988 Olympics minutes from my house at Canada Olympic Park that allowed me to take my recreational past-time to the next level and try luge on the Olympic Track, said Edney who was joined at the media conference by fellow two-time Olympians, Alex Gough and Jeff Christie. Based on my experience, I truly believe kids in British Columbia have an incredible opportunity to begin their Olympic dreams on a world-leading facility minutes from their community.

With facilities at the doorsteps of residents on the Sea-To-Sky Corridor, along with world-leading programs and coaching already in place, Edney and his teammates believe influencing more kids to get involved in the program will continue to push Canadian luge athletes and make them better internationally.

We have reached incredible milestones along our development into Olympians, and Canada is now pushing into the top-10 and threatening for the podium on the world stage, said Edney. My dream is that someone in this country will stand on the Olympic podium in luge. These kids in British Columbia have such a huge opportunity in front of them, and I cant help but wonder which one will be sporting a medal around their neck one day.

The Canadian Luge Association will also continue its recruitment drive in Alberta at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. For more information on luge recruitment camps, or the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.


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