IRVING, Texas - Young athletes with Olympic aspirations can experience the thrill of luge and train with U.S. Olympic and National Team coaches and athletes when the Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search rolls into Dallas Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.
The Slider Search, the official athlete recruitment tour of USA Luge, will be looking for boys and girls ages 10-14. The event, which incorporates sleds on wheels, will be held on Houston Street Viaduct, in downtown Dallas, near Reunion Arena, from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m. each day.
During a Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search clinic, sliders are taught by USA Luge National and Olympic Team coaches and athletes. The youngsters learn about the basics of riding a luge sled including position, steering and stopping. Once these skills are developed, they make several runs down a paved luge course on wheel-equipped luge sleds. Finally, athletes test their physical skills through a battery of fitness tests.
Those who show the most promise at these clinics - and throughout the nationwide tour - 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.
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.
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 - including silver and bronze medals during both the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games, gold 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.
1998 Olympic bronze and 2002 Olympic silver medallist Brian Martin (Palo Alto, Calif.) is a graduate of the 1987 Search. Six members of USA Luge's 2002 Olympic Team, including the entire three-member women's squad (Ashley Hayden, Becky Wilczak, and Courtney Zablocki), were each graduates of the Search.
The Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search will also be conducted in other cities: Los Angeles, Calif.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York, N.Y.; Long Island, N.Y.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
For more information, log on to www.usaluge.org.
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