USA Luge set to christen 2013-2014 Lake Placid sliding season with first runs
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - With an Adirondack autumn thus far highlighted by beautiful fall foliage, cold mornings, cold nights and warm, radiant sunshine in between, members of the United States Luge Team are set to begin their fall training on Mount Van Hoevenberg Tuesday morning (Oct. 1) at the Olympic Sports Complex outside Lake Placid.
With the U.S. national team training abroad in Lillehammer since Saturday, the Lake Placid facility will host junior national team members and graduating juniors this week.
Aidan Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y., will lead the men's contingent, Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa., tops the women's start list, and the doubles unit of Ty Andersen, of Alpine, Utah, and Anthony Espinoza, of Park City, Utah, headline the first week.
"We'll start by getting the cob webs out as we come out of summer training," said U.S. head coach and sport program director Mark Grimmette. "There's that nervousness of making sure you can do this again, but it's just like riding a bike."
Many of the athletes hitting the ice Tuesday trained over the summer on the same track, with no ice and sleds on wheels. The venue crew has been icing the mile-long course since late September, perfect timing for the early track opening as the Americans will be testing some new sled technology after ongoing collaborations with Dow and Clarkson University.
"We're looking to make sure all sleds are fine-tuned correctly after the off-season," added Grimmette, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist in doubles. "We're anxious to test the fruits of our labor."
This group will join the national team when the latter sliders return from Lillehammer next week.
The first event of the Olympic season comes quickly as the Norton National Championships and a seeding race are set for Oct. 12-13. These competitions begin the qualification process for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Another seeding race will be held in Park City, Utah, Oct. 20, followed by five World Cup meets in November and December.
At the conclusion of that entire period, USA Luge will nominate its 2014 Olympic squad to the United States Olympic Committee.
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USA Luge fans and supporters are encouraged to contribute to the team's 2013-2014 efforts leading up to Sochi by checking out its indiegogo campaign. The endeavor raises money as USA Luge Olympians reach for the podium.
Unlike its competition, USA Luge receives no government funding and operates at a distinct disadvantage in battling other nations on their home ground all winter.
Please take the time to look at this crowdsourcing movement, which seeks to raise $50,000. There are eight days remaining in the fundraising period.
In the indiegogo fundraising "race" among teams and individuals, USA Luge has cracked the top 10. The organization is nearly halfway to achieving its' goal.