LAKE PLACID, NY - Tony Benshoof, the most successful men’s luge athlete in USA Luge history and Fred Zimny, the US Olympic Committee’s 2000 Coach of the Year, will share head coaching duties for the Junior National Team, effective immediately.
"I’m super excited," said Benshoof, winner of 37 international medals. "It’s going to be really nice to work with young athletes and apply the skills I’ve learned in my 20 years as a luge athlete. I look forward to battling for the medals."
The White Bear Lake, Minn. native finished fourth at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
"It’s going to be a fun challenge," said Zimny of Boonton, N.J. "Tony and I get along really well and the two of us will bring some very positive qualities to the team."
Zimny also serves as the Recruitment & Development Manager for USA Luge, in addition to serving as the luge team leader for the past four Olympic teams.
Away from the luge track, Benshoof will focus on sled preparation, while Zimny will deal with logistics, team captain’s meetings, and Junior National Team operations. Both will act as driving coaches while at the track.
The Junior National Team features Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa., Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah and Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn., all members of the 2012 Youth Olympic Games gold medal-winning relay squad. Reigning Youth A World Cup overall silver medalist Theresa Buckley of Allentown, Pa. and Aiden Kelly of West Islip, NY will also join the squad when they begin training in October.
Junior World Cup podium regular Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Conn., in her last year of junior eligibility, is expected to spend most of her time with the National Team this coming season; however, she is also expected to be in the mix for the Junior World Championships.
"I’m very pleased to have Tony back involved in our program" commented USA Luge CEO, Ron Rossi. "His experience as an athlete was far too valuable to have sitting on the sideline. I’m excited for what he can bring to the team."
The highlight of the 2012-13 Junior World Cup season will take place on January 15-16, when Park City, Utah plays host to the Junior World Championships.