Slider Search prepares for Vermont tour stop

LAKE PLACID — The White Castle USA Luge Slider Search tour will make a stop in Vermont on June 17 and 18 at the Champlain Valley Expo on Route 15 in Essex Junction.

Clinic times are 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m. Interested participants need only sign up for one session.

The Slider Search Tour is the official nationwide athlete recruitment tour of USA Luge, targeting young athletes ages 9 to 13.

At each series stop, guided by U.S. Olympic and national team coaches and athletes, participants are taught the basics of riding a luge sled, including positioning, steering and stopping. Once these skills are developed, athletes take several runs down a paved luge course on wheel-equipped luge sleds.

Finally, athletes test their physical skills through a battery of fitness tests.

Those who show promise in the summer program are invited to Lake Placid, Park City, Utah, or Muskegon, Michigan to try luge on ice at a USA Luge sanctioned training site. The top young athletes from this group are selected for the next year’s development team.

The mission of this grassroots program, established in 1985, is to identify, train and qualify young athletes for the USA Luge Junior Development Team. Athletes who may progress through the six-rung development ladder (Junior Development Team, Junior Team Candidate Select, Junior Team Candidate, Junior National Team Select, Junior National Team, National Team Select) have hopes of one-day becoming members of the national and Olympic luge teams.

Over the years, the USA Luge Slider Search has traveled more than 230,000 miles and introduced the sport of luge to more than 20,000 eager young athletes.

Currently, most of the U.S. Junior National Team was recruited through the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search, so it’s no wonder the USA Luge coaching staff feels future National and Olympic Teams will come from this recruiting program.

Erin Hamlin, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist and four-time World Championship medal winner, was identified in a 1999 Slider Search, while Brian Martin, a 1998 Olympic bronze and 2002 Olympic silver medalist, was discovered at a Slider Search in 1987. The vast majority of the past two Olympic teams came through the Slider Search.

Register by phone at 1-800-USA-LUGE, or online at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Luge/SS-Registration-Form. The clinics are free. A White Castle USA Luge Slider Search T-shirt will be given for attending.

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