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USA Luge slider search comes to Lake Placid Sunday

Provided photo A youngster gives the wheeled sled a try while other prospects wait for their turn at the top of the hill during a USA Luge slider search event. The slider search, which is an important tool for finding young athletes in the sport, takes place in Lake Placid on Sunday.

LAKE PLACID — The USA Luge off-season recruiting tour — the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search — will begin its search for new talent on Sunday, Aug. 23, in its hometown of Lake Placid. This year’s schedule, featuring sleds on wheels, is starting later than usual as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There will be one clinic from 10 a.m. To 12 p.m. and will be limited to 10 youngsters to accommodate social distancing. It will take place on Recycle Circle (74 Recycle Circle Lane), just off Cascade Road/state Route 73. The Lake Placid clinic, for boys and girls ages 9-13, is free of charge and each young athlete will be given a complimentary White Castle USA Luge Slider Search T-shirt. Pre-event registration is mandatory and can be completed by calling 1-800-USA-LUGE or by logging on tohttps://www.teamusa.org/usa-luge/slider-search.

With virtually all businesses having reopened in New York State, USA Luge decided to move forward with the recruiting tour because of people’s desire to participate in outdoor activities. However, in an abundance of caution, the entire slider search season will occur within the state’s boundaries. At all locations, the organization will deploy new cleaning and sanitizing protocols to keep participants safe. 

USA Luge’s five rings of safety in this session will include:

¯ A strict policy of social distancing (six feet at all times)

¯ Wearing of face masks is mandatory

¯ All sleds, helmets and registration items (pens, clip boards, tables, etc.) will be disinfected after each use with OSHA recommended cleaning products

¯ USA Luge will provide hand sanitizer for all participants

¯ Attendees are restricted to two adults per youth

“We’re very happy that White Castle is once again partnering with us to find more luge talent for our future teams,” said Gordy Sheer, Olympic silver medalist and Director of Marketing and Sponsorships. “Certainly, all of us have encountered new and different times in the past six months, but in reducing the number of children, the silver lining is that they will all be safe, and will all get ample attention from the coaching staff.”

Once the participants master the ability to maneuver the sled in both directions, they will then slide from the White Castle USA Luge ramp onto the road surface to negotiate a shallow, gentle cone course. 

Under the guidance of national team coaches, the event will give these youth an opportunity to learn luge and qualify to join the USA Luge Junior Development team. This is the first rung on the ladder to national and Olympic team status. Children selected from the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search will be invited to learn the sport on ice next winter in Lake Placid on the same track where national team athletes train and compete each season. 

More than 250,000 youngsters have been introduced to luge in this national program since its inception nearly 35 years ago.

“We’re so proud to be a partner with USA Luge in its annual Slider Search, especially this year,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle. “The pandemic doesn’t have to dash anyone’s hopes of becoming an Olympic athlete. This program is helping to keep kids’ dreams alive.” 

An Olympic sport since 1964, luge consists of athletes sliding down a track of ice on sleds at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. The White Castle USA Luge Slider Search clinics will have kids luging at much slower, more introductory speeds on the wheeled luge sleds. Participating “sliders” (a name given to luge athletes and the iconic White Castle burger) will ultimately be considered for the USA Luge Junior Development Team. The coaches guiding each clinic include National and Olympic team athletes, giving each young participant professional instruction and inspiration.

  More information can be found at https://www.teamusa.org/usa-luge/slider-search, including the full schedule of summer and fall slider search locations. Participant registration may be completed online or by calling 1-800-USA-LUGE.