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Young Canucks Rack Up Four Medals at Youth Luge World Cup in Whistler

Three 2010 Legacy babies sweep men’s podium, Calgary’s Kyla Graham wins women’s bronze

WHISTLER, B.C.—The Whistler Sliding Centre continues to serve as a medal generating factory for Canada’s luge athletes at all levels as a group of baby Canucks racked up four of a possible six medals on Thursday at the first ever Youth and Junior World Cup held at the 2010 Olympic venue.

A trio of hometown boys from the Whistler area swept the youth men’s podium led by Adam Shippit. The Pemberton, B.C. native bombed down the icy chute in a two-run golden time to successfully defend his home track with a time of 1:17.850.

“It was a great time today and I couldn’t have asked for a better result,” beamed Shippit following the medal ceremony. “To have three of us on the podium, I hope this is the start of something really good and that we can keep this going all season.”

Hot on Shippit’s tail was two of his Whistler buddies, Matt Riddle and Reid Watts. Riddle clocked-in at 1:18.146 for the silver medal, while Watts completed the Canadian medal sweep after winning the race for the bronze with a time of 1:18.186.

The Canadian trail to the podium continued into the youth women’s races. Calgary’s Kyla Graham snagged her first-ever bronze medal after posting a time of 1:21.443.

“This is just my third World Cup so it is something I have never experienced before,” said Graham. “My runs were pretty clean, and my mindset good was going into the race. This is by far my favourite track in the world. I just love how smooth it is and how fast you get going.”

The Russian women grabbed the top-two spots on the podium. Olesya Mikhaylenko finished on top with a time of 1:21.299, while Yulia Naumova slid to the silver medal at 1:21.361.

With more than 80 athletes representing 11 countries, this is just the first time the next generation of Olympic luge athletes have slid into the Whistler Sliding Centre for a Youth and Junior World Cup race – a critical step forward for providing increased race opportunities for the nation’s young sliders, while exposing more kids to the sport.

“I think these results by our young kids from British Columbia signify not only the importance of the Whistler Sliding Centre for developing and preparing Canadian athletes to excel at all levels of the sport, but also the importance of having the opportunity to race at home,” said Walter Corey, high-performance director, Canadian Luge Association. “Each of these athletes were introduced to the sport thanks to the 2010 Olympics and because of those Games our program continues to grow and succeed by having access to another world-leading facility in our backyard. It is great to have our first race here, but also very satisfying to see we are extending the depth of our program into another corner of the country.”

Canada’s first ever luge athlete from the Whistler area, Jenna Spencer, will hit the start line on Friday as the World Cup continues with the men’s and women’s junior races. Spencer finished second overall on the Youth World Cup in 2013.

For a complete list of results: http://www.luge.ca/en/events/junior/

The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.