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2014 Norton National Championships and seeding events Nov. 1-2 | Oct 27, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The start of the new World Cup luge season may be a month away, but the 2014 Norton National Championships and seeding races this weekend will go a long way in determining the makeup of the United States team that will head to Europe next month. The three-races-in-two-days format in singles will feature a pair of two-heat seeding events on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 1-2). The total of those four runs will crown the national champions in the men’s and women’s divisions. The doubles discipline presents a seeding race on Saturday with the national championship title at stake on Sunday USA Luge will finalize its World Cup team at the conclusion of the weekend series. “The only time we race four heats over two days is in the most important races we have, meaning the Olympics,” said USA Luge Sport Program Director Mark Grimmette. “So each year we need to have events that put our athletes in that same format so it’s not foreign to them at the Games.” The Norton National singles races, led by Sochi bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, N.Y., will bring five Sochi Olympians to the start handles on Saturday morning. Only Kate Hansen, who is spending this year at BYU, will be missing. Hamlin will be challenged by 2014 teammate Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa., 2010 Olympian Julia Clukey, of Augusta, Maine and 2013 Junior World Champion Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., who contended for spots on the last two Olympic teams. The men’s side features all three members of last February’s Olympic group with Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y. The two-time Olympian will be joined by Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Conn., Aidan Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y. and Taylor Morris, of South Jordan, Utah, who was in the mix for the Sochi squad last fall. USA Luge will also enter some emerging juniors into these races, including Riley Stohr, of Whitehall, Mich., and Raychel Germaine, of Roswell, Ga. Three doubles teams will round out the annual event. Matt Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. and new sled mate Jayson Terdiman, of Berwick, Pa., both members the 2014 Olympic team with different partners, will race in their first nationals together. Youngsters Jake Hyrns of Muskegon, Mich., and Andrew Sherk of Fort Washington, Pa., return with a point to prove. The duo was eliminated from 2014 Olympic consideration in a special race-off last December. Junior national team racers Justin Krewson of Eastport, N.Y. and Tristan Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y., round out the doubles field. Hamlin, Clukey and Mazdzer are exempt from qualifying for the fall World Cup team. Races begin at 8 AM daily, and will be streamed live on www.usaluge.org, courtesy of West World Media.
USA Luge representation grows on FIL commissions in artificial and natural track luge | Oct 20, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The contributions of USA Luge to the International Luge Federation (FIL) continue to be recognized among the member nations, as the number of American officials and athletes is growing on the various commissions in artificial (Olympic) and natural track luge. Commissions through 2018 were established at last month’s FIL meetings outside Vienna, Austria. “As with any international federation, the FIL has numerous commissions, and it’s encouraging to see such representation from the United States at these various tables,” said USA Luge President and CEO Jim Leahy. “These individuals have given body and soul to our sport over many years, and have accrued a great depth of knowledge. We are seeing that being rewarded by their peers.” Claire DelNegro, of Lake Placid and Boston, has been a Vice President on the FIL executive board, and was recently named VP Sport in artificial track luge. DelNegro has been integral to FIL leadership for two decades. Two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., is the athlete representative on the sport commission. Other members of the sport commission include Olympic silver and bronze medalist Mark Grimmette, of Muskegon, Mich., who also serves as Sport Program Director for USA Luge. Zianibeth Shattuck-Owen, of Park City, Utah, is a member of the commission on youth and development. Members of the natural track commission include Tammy Wills, of Negaunee, Mich. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eugene Byrne, of Lake Placid Sports Medicine, the USA Luge team doctor, was named to the four-person medical commission of the FIL through the Winter Games in South Korea. Ron Rossi, of Lake Placid, N.Y., was appointed to the Court of Arbitration committee of the FIL. Svein Romstad, of Atlanta, has the dual role of FIL Secretary General, as well as a member of the FIL Ethics Code working group. Romstad’s career with the FIL’s hierarchy also dates back 20 years. The FIL, based in Berchtesgaden, Germany, is headed by President Josef Fendt, also of Berchtesgaden.
USA Luge begins Lake Placid sliding season with training session on Oct. 20 | Oct 20, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Led by 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, N.Y., the United States Luge Team opened the Lake Placid sliding season Monday morning on its home track at Mount Van Hoevenberg. “It feels good to be back on familiar, home ice,” said the three-time Olympian and 2009 World Champion, who captured the Lillehammer Cup on Oct 11. “We hit the jackpot with weather and had a cold morning so the ice was great for a first day and held up well. Hopefully we’ll stay on Mother Nature's good side for the rest of the month. I can't remember many years we were in the low 45 seconds on day one. So that's a huge plus and props to the crew for having the track in such condition. “The track here keeps us on our toes, making sure we earn every good run. It's nice to get back into that mode of being challenged before heading overseas in November to start racing.” The session saw Sochi Olympian Aidan Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y. take the first run of the year. It came at the end of a week of unseasonably mild weather that finally turned cold Saturday night, Sunday and Monday morning. Fellow Sochi Olympic team member Matt Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y., summed up the opening day. “I’m happy to get on the ice and get training again,” he said. Mortensen was one of a small group of Americans who trained earlier this month in Lillehammer, Norway. Upon returning they waited a week for weather conditions to change. His new doubles partner, Jayson Terdiman, joined Mortensen on opening day. “It always feels great to be sliding in Lake Placid,” said the 2014 Olympic team member from Berwick, Pa. “The weather hasn't been optimal for the track crew to get the ice prepared, but they have done a great job getting everything ready for us.” Julia Clukey, of Augusta, Maine, was another in the group that trained in Lillehammer before this morning’s session at the site of her World Cup silver medal in February 2013. “It's always nice to slide on home ice in Lake Placid,” remarked the 2010 Olympian. “The track crew has put in long days getting the ice ready, and it showed this morning with quick ice for the first session. I was able to get a jump on the season in Lillehammer last week and was happy with my speed. Now my focus is on finding consistency.” Weather permitting, USA Luge will train daily this week in Lake Placid from 8-10 AM, leading up to the Norton National Championships on Nov. 1-2. The team will collaborate with the New York Olympic Regional Development Authority to host a World Cup event on Dec. 5-6.
Western New York Energy, LLC becomes Official Supporter of USA Luge | Oct 13, 2014
Relationship has its roots in annual I Love BBQ & Music Festival MEDINA, N.Y. – It’s said that sometimes business relationships begin from the most unlikely circumstances. In the case of Western New York Energy, LLC (WNYE) , becoming an Official Supporter of USA Luge, that genesis occurred in Lake Placid at the annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival. The event, organized by USA Luge and other community partners, is a summertime fundraiser for the local Shipman Youth Center. WNYE President and CEO Michael Sawyer has been a participant in the festival for many years. Conversations with USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld, the coordinator of the Shipman fundraiser, subsequently led to the two barbecue friends forging a new relationship that will benefit WNYE and USA Luge. “WNYE is looking forward to this relationship with USA Luge, the only Olympic federation based in New York State,” said Sawyer. “We partner with hard-working farmers in our region, to produce clean, renewable energy. In a similar way, we are now involved with a sports federation that thinks creatively and aggressively to get itself to the finish line faster than others. “This is our first venture into the sports world, and we are happy to achieve that entry with the U.S. luge team.” WNYE, based in the Orleans County village of Medina, is just 10 years old, but their $90 million facility was the first operating ethanol plant in the northeast United States. The plant processes approximately 20 million bushels of corn into over 55 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol which is blended with gasoline throughout Western New York. “It’s important for our organization to be associated with a company that is local, like we are, and interested in developing their renewable assets to their fullest in helping other industries,” said Jim Leahy, CEO and Executive Director of USA Luge. “It’s also nice to see two New York businesses helping one another.” Other New York State and local entities to assist USA Luge are the Uihlein Foundation, High Peaks Dental and CW-X. “When we found out that WNYE promotes sustainability, it got us more excited about forging ahead,” continued Leahy. “Furthermore, given how this all started, it’s a perfect example of a good deed being paid forward.” The relationship enables WNYE to use the marks and symbols of USA Luge in its promotional materials, as well as the “Official Supporter” designation in its marketing and communications strategies.
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