Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search Goes On the Road Looking for Future Olympians

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --- Young athletes with Olympic aspirations can experience the thrill of luge and train with Olympic and national team coaches and athletes of the United States Luge Team.

The Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search, the official athlete recruitment tour of USA Luge, will provide luge clinics in eight communities nationwide this summer. The clinics, which use sleds on wheels, will be held weekends from June 23 through Aug. 25.

Participation is open to boys and girls between the ages of 10-14. The cost is $15 per child and includes a USA Luge-Verizon T-shirt. For complete information and to register for the Verizon-USA Luge Search, call 1-800-USA Luge (1-800-872-5843).

The 2002 Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search schedule is as follows:

  • June 22-23 -- Philadelphia
  • June 29-30 -- Old Westbury (Long Island), N.Y., campus of SUNY Old Westbury
  • July 11-12 -- New York City
  • July 20-21 -- Indianapolis
  • July 27-28 -- Milwaukee
  • Aug. 3-4 -- Salt Lake City
  • Aug. 17-18 -- Honolulu
  • Aug. 24-25 -- Los Angeles

Clinics will be held each day from 9 a.m. - noon and 2 to 5 p.m.

During a Slider Search clinic, USA Luge national and Olympic Team coaches and athletes teach novice sliders the basics of riding a luge sled, including position, steering and stopping. Once these skills are developed, the youngsters make several runs down a paved luge course on luge sleds with wheels. Finally, athletes undergo a battery of fitness tests.

The most promising candidates are invited to train on ice next winter in Lake Placid, N.Y.; Marquette, Mich., or Park City, Utah. They also will be considered for the 2003-2004 USA Luge Development Team.

USA Luge officials view the Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search as the primary means of recruitment for a national program whose athletes have captured more than 280 international medals since 1990. Honors won by team members include silver and bronze medals during both the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games, a gold medal at the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games, as well as a team record six medals, including a medal sweep of the women's singles competition, at the 2001 Junior World Championships.

Brian Martin, a 1998 Olympic bronze and 2002 Olympic silver medallist, is a graduate of the 1987 Slider Search. Six members of USA Luge's 2002 Olympic Team, including the entire women's squad (Ashley Hayden, Becky Wilczak, and Courtney Zablocki), were all graduates of the Search.

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