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Calgary Sun: Ice House - A Push Down Right Path By Randy Sportak

Calgary SunCanada's Olympic sliders are about to get a big push.

The Canadian Olympic Development Association* announced yesterday bobsledders, lugers and skeleton racers will soon have the benefit of a state-of-the-art push start training facility at Canada Olympic Park that will help them in their quest to be tops in the world.

*( Note: Should read "Calgary Olympic Development Association" )

"This will be a huge difference," said national women's team bobsledder Kathleen Salikin. "Having a dry practice is good, but getting to train on the ice with our sleds will be a big deal.

"It's more of an actual feeling and a lot more accurate."

Known as The Ice House, the $4.1-million indoor facility, funded by CODA, is expected to be completed by February 2001. It's the only one of its kind in the world.

In it, there will be three starts to train from, one for bobsled and skeleton and two for luge, with turns in each direction just after the start. There is also monorail system that automatically returns bobsleds to the top. Cameras and timing mechanisms will be in place for evaluation purposes.

There will also be storage for sleds and luges, as well as a two-lane, 40-metre warm-up track.

Not only will it help sliders with their starts -- the most critical part of their sports -- it will also allow them to train on actual ice year-round and test new gear.

Plus, when training in the winter, sliders won't have to worry about cold snaps that see the mercury drop to -30C or chinooks that melt the top of the track.

"We have the framework of a gold-medal winning team, so now it's the last little things we need to fine tune," said bobsledder Matt Hindle, who added the team usually took a couple of months to get the starts up to expected levels.

There is an indoor push facility in Lake Placid, N.Y., but it only has three luge starts and is without turns.

Now, sliders from around the world will be jealous of what Canada has, something not lost on those wearing the maple leaf.

"Everybody's going to want to come here and use our facilities," said Hindle. "We'll have to put the screws to them like they do to us when we want to go to Europe and train."

Original>http://www.canoe.ca/SlamWinterSports/aug9_pus.html">Original article in >http://www.canoe.ca/SlamWinterSports"> Slam Winter Sports
Copyright 2000 Calgary Sun and RANDY SPORTAK