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Canadian Doubles Lugers Qualify For 2002 Olympics

Canadian doubles lugers Chris Moffat and Eric Pothier (Airdrie, Alberta) became the first Canadian doubles team to qualify for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games with their ninth place finish at World Cup Four in Igls, Austria. The Canadian Olympic Association (COA) requires four World Cup finishes in the top nine for a doubles luge team to meet Canadian Olympic Team selection eligibility. The Canadian pair of 21 year olds, in only their second season as Seniors on the World Cup circuit, had racked up three of the four qualifying finishes going into today’s race.

“Chris and I are extremely happy with today’s results and having our final qualifier for Salt Lake behind us,” reported Eric Pothier.

Moffat and Pothier finished ninth with a two-run combined time of one minute, 21.646 seconds. Germany’s Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch won Gold with a time of one minute, 20.718 seconds followed by teammates Andre Florschutz/Torsten Wustlich and Steffen Skel/Steffen Woller winning Silver and Bronze.

The other Canadian doubles team of Grant Albrecht and Mike Moffat, both Junior aged athletes sliding at the Senior level, were not in their usual form and finished 20th.

In Women’s competition, Red Deer’s Regan Lauscher is now just one Olympic qualifier away from being Canada’s first women luger at the Olympics since 1992 in Albertville. Lauscher, a 20 year old Mount Royal College journalism student now living in Calgary, is in her rookie year as a Senior. Today’s 11th place finish with a two-run combined time of one minute, 22.167 seconds was just under the COA requirement to have four top 12 or better finishes in a Women’s World Cup race.

Lauscher commented, "Today was luge racing as it should be. There was a field of 40 of the world’s best with just a thousandths of second between many of us in very tight competition. This was my best ever World Cup result and I’m extremely happy to be a step closer to the Olympics."

German women, once again, swept the podium with Sonja Wiedemann (1:21.078), Silke Krauschaar (1:21.180) and Barbara Niedernhuber (1:21.423) finishing top three in the field of 40 international sliders.

All Canadian athletes are from Calgary unlesss otherwise noted.

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For more information or if transmission difficulties contact:

Tim Farstad, CLA-OLTC, 403-247-9884 gsnefgnq@pbqn.no.pn

Web site: www.luge.ca (athlete photos, bio’s, travel schedule)