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USLA Board President Dwight Bell named to IOC Evaluation Commission | Oct 2, 2014
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee has named USA Luge board president Dwight Bell to its evaluation commission that will help select the 2022 Olympic Winter Games site. The IOC made the announcement from its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. After the recent withdrawal of Oslo, Norway, the two finalists for 2022 are Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan. The site selection will take place on July 31, 2015. “Each member of the commission brings a wide range of expertise and experience, and understands what it takes to host a sustainable, well-organized and ultimately successful Olympic Winter Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. Bell, of Atlanta, served as assistant chef de mission for the United States Olympic Committee in 1998. He later became the USOC’s chef de mission in 2002. "It’s truly an honor to serve on the IOC 2022 Evaluation Commission,” said Bell. “I am privileged to represent the seven Olympic Winter International Federations in this process. I am looking forward to starting this important work." The IOC Evaluation Commission is chaired by IOC member Alexander Zhukov. Bell, the lone American in a group of 12, is one of eight advisors chosen. Three more IOC members were named to the commission. “To have Dwight on this panel is certainly well-deserved, and a true honor for him,” said USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy. “In addition, Dwight’s placement on the commission is a wonderful boost for our sport and our organization.” The Commission will visit both cities between February and March and spend five full days with each bid team. Together they will examine the 14 themes of the IOC’s candidature questionnaire, which includes topics such as vision, legacy and engagement, transport, accommodation, finance and sustainability. The Commission will also visit the competition and non-competition venues proposed in each bid.
Coaching staff additions as new season approaches | Sep 30, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – USA Luge Sport Program Director Mark Grimmette, a two-time Olympic medalist, has named Lubomir Mick assistant coach and Keith Younger team manager entering the 2014-2015 season. “The addition of Lubo and Keith will enable our national team to function smoothly and seamlessly over the course of the season,” said Grimmette. “Lubo was a long-time competitor who knows all the tracks where we race. He’ll be a sled technician and driving coach, among other duties.” Mick, a longtime member of the Slovakian luge team who retired after the 2006 season, will join a staff that includes head coach Miro Zayonc and assistant coach Bill Tavares. Mick was ninth and 13th in doubles in his two Winter Olympic appearances. The 36 year old was the head coach as well as sled builder and designer for the Slovakian national luge team from 2007 to 2014. Younger was the USA Luge junior national team manager and academic assistant from 2002-2010. The native of Boone, Iowa has a B.A. in history from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. Younger will be responsible for handling team logistics and shooting video during training runs and competition. “Keith brings all those years of experience on the road with the juniors,” continued Grimmette. “With that, he knows his way around Europe, is familiar with the travel, the hotels and the towns as we travel week to week.” As the organization embarks on the new campaign, Mick and Younger will immediately jump into the fray as a contingent of USA Luge athletes and coaches will depart Wednesday, Oct. 1, for Lillehammer, Norway. This will mark their initial on-ice camp of the fall. The athletes will take their first runs of the season on the 1994 Olympic track on Friday, Oct. 3.
USA Luge pioneer Jack Elder cited by USOC with award at Chicago assembly | Sep 29, 2014
CHICAGO, Ill. – Jack Elder, a member of the 1972 United States Olympic luge team, received the Dorothy Franey Langkop Ambassador Award on Sept. 25 at the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly held in Chicago. Above: Left is John Naber, 5 X Olympic medal winning swimmer with Jack Elder The honor is named after the woman who pioneered women’s ski jumping on its road to Olympic inclusion. The Dorothy Franey Langkop Ambassador Award was established to recognize an individual or a program associated with a U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Chapter. It demonstrates the special spirit of Olympism and has illustrated the Olympic ideals through their actions or have rendered outstanding services to the Olympic cause. In his comments, Elder said, “I am very proud to be a recipient of the Dorothy Langkop Ambassador Award and a U.S. Olympian……We do what we do because that is the way we are, and is it not amazing just how much you can get done when you are not concerned about who will get the credit.” Above: Jack Elder accepting his Dorothy Langkop Ambassador Award Elder’s sports career dates back to 1958 and his days as an all-state high school linebacker. He learned luge in the early 1960s as a member of the military in Berchtesgaden, Germany, competing in four world championships prior to his 15th place effort in doubles at the Sapporo Olympic Winter Games. Elder is also credited with several bronze medals in national and North American luge competitions. His professional career includes a stint as development director with the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame Museum. The Seattle native was founder and president of Oregon Sports Action, a group that looked into the feasibility of bringing the Olympics to that state. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly was initiated in 2005 to give a voice to the various member organizations of the USOC; to keep dialogue open between members, staff and volunteer leadership; and to help further the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. This year’s event – themed “Power of Sport” – welcomed more than 400 participants, representing Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American National Governing Bodies; U.S. Olympians and Paralympians; Multi-Sport Organizations; the Athletes' Advisory Council; the Paralympic Advisory Committee; and USOC board members and staff.
Clukey, Mazdzer, Krewson/Jeskanen win USA Luge Indoor Start Championships | Sep 19, 2014
Clukey wins for the 7 th time as races decided by thousandths of seconds Women's start champions, left to right: Emily Sweeney, Julia Clukey and Summer Britcher LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Vancouver Olympian Julia Clukey won a team high seventh USA Luge Indoor Start Championship Friday night in Lake Placid, while two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer rallied in the final heat to overturn Sochi teammate Aidan Kelly for the men’s title. Justin Krewson and Tristan Jeskanen held on to their first run lead in doubles and defeated Sochi Olympians Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman. The races were held on the national team’s artificially refrigerated training ramps. In the opening leg, each athlete used the traditional start. In the final run, the luge racers had to execute a reaction start using a gate. This made its Olympic debut in Sochi for the inaugural team relay. Clukey, of Augusta, Maine, added to her reputation as one of the best starters in the world. The 2010 Olympian recorded times of 1.435 and 1.651 seconds for a total of 3.086 seconds. She defeated 2013 Junior World Champion Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn. Sweeney, who was a strong candidate for the 2010 and 2014 Olympic teams, was right behind in 3.092. “The first start was fairly decent, but the reaction start gets me,” said Clukey. “I never train for it because we don’t use it in World Cup racing. I focus on the regular starts, but winning the seventh feels pretty good. I feel ready for the season and excited to get on the ice in a few weeks.” Sochi Olympian and 2012 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa., placed third in 3.122. Raychel Germaine, of Roswell, Ga. took fourth. L to R: Aidan Kelly, Chris Mazdzer and Riley Stohr Mazdzer, meanwhile, used his experience in the reaction start to overcome Aidan Kelly’s strong opening heat. Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., spotted his teammate 0.02 of a second in the traditional start, before overtaking Kelly for the victory, by about 0.01 of a second. “This competition comes down to the reaction start,” stated Mazdzer. “I practiced it diligently yesterday. That’s where I had my advantage. “I’ve done this (reaction start) more than Aidan has, more specifically, in a race type situation. I knew he’d be fast in the first heat. He’s been killing it all summer.” Kelly’s first run time was a men’s USA Luge indoor start record. The winner clocked times of 1.375 and 1.467 for a total of 2.842. Kelly posted 2.851, with Riley Stohr, of Whitehall, Mich., next in 2.954. Joe Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. placed fourth. Left to right, Matt Mortensen, Jayson Terdiman, Justin Krewson, Tristan Jeskanen Krewson and Jeskanen, rising juniors who were part of a silver medal winning effort last January in the team relay at the Junior World Championships, took a 0.04 head at the mid-point. Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y., and Terdiman, of Berwick, Pa., closed quickly and cut into the advantage, but fell 0.01 of a second short. “This is a result of lots of hard work the past few months, and stretching,” said Jeskanen, of Peru, N.Y. “It definitely shows it here. We’re improving a lot. I’m happy to see that for the future.” Krewson and Jeskanen had single heats of 1.386 and 1.669 for an aggregate of 3.055. Mortensen and Terdiman registered 3.063. In all, six recent United States Olympians were in action. Erin Hamlin, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist and 2009 World Champion from Remsen, N.Y., did not compete. Neither did Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Conn., the winner of the last three start championships. West, who also raced in Sochi, is nursing a wrist injury. Upon completion of this event, a number of national team athletes are now eyeing Lillehammer, Norway for the first full-length, on ice sliding of the fall season. That camp will be held from Oct. 1-12 on the 1994 Olympic track. Thereafter, the team will begin training on the demanding course at Mount Van Hoevenberg, outside Lake Placid, when it opens in mid-October. The layout is the site of a World Cup meet Dec. 5-6 which will bring many of the international stars of the Sochi Winter Games to Lake Placid. The Norton National Championships will be held Nov. 1-2 in Lake Placid.
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