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Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search Rolls into Honolulu, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22

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HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Young athletes who want to experience the thrill of luge and train under the guidance of 2002 U.S. Olympic luge team members Brian Martin (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Ashley Hayden (Westborough, Mass.), as well as other National Team athletes and coaches can do so when the Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search rolls into Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22.

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 in the Koko Head District Park, in the Hawaii Kai area of Oahu on the main park road, from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m. each day.

"Thanks to efforts of the U.S. Luge Association, Verizon, and the City's Office of Economic Development, Honolulu is one of the sites for the Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search," said Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris. "Hawaii is a tremendous sports training site and sports tourism helps to diversify our economy. For decades, our young people have brought Olympic medals home in a variety of sports and this presents another opportunity for them to excel. I appreciate all that Verizon has done to support U.S. athletes."

During a Verizon-USA Luge Slider Search clinic, the youngsters learn about the basics of riding a luge sled including position, steering and stopping from Martin, a 2002 Olympic silver medallist in doubles luge, and Hayden, who finished eighth in the 2002 Olympic women's singles event. Once these skills are developed, they make several runs down a paved luge course on wheel-equipped luge sleds. Finally, athletes assess 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.

Six members of USA Luge's 2002 Olympic Team including Martin and the entire three-member women's squad (Hayden, Becky Wilczak, and Courtney Zablocki), were each graduates of the Search.

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