Gorgeous Whistler experience for Olympic luge hopefuls

Last week saw the last leg of this season’s Luge World Cup series staged in Whistler at the future Olympic track for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. “The Olympic Games could well start tomorrow,” Josef Fendt, President of the International Luge Federation (FIL), said happily after the successful staging of the event.

Fine-tuning Games operations
This World Cup competition offered the Vancouver organisers (VANOC) the opportunity to fine-tune their operations at the venue exactly one year prior to the Games. Beginning with the training schedule, and including testing the transport system and medical services, a simulation of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games set-up was successfully implemented.

Enthusiastic athletes and spectators
“The entire layout is excellent and the atmosphere is just great,” stated Austria’s Andreas Linger after his competition. And his team mate Tobias Schiegl added: “If I had it my way, we could have all our events on this track next winter. It’s simply gorgeous here in Whistler”. 19-year-old Felix Loch from Germany concluded: “At every corner there’s someone who is working on something. You get the impression that the Olympic Games could well start tomorrow”. The final of this World Cup event saw undreamt-of spectator interest – both competition days were completely sold out, with a total of 6,000 enthusiastic spectators at the venue. Moreover, for the first time, a luge event in Canada drew more than 100 media representatives.

Mastering “Thunderbird”, “Shiver” and the “Lueders Loop”
The curves at the Whistler Sliding Centre have awesome names such as “Thunderbird” or “Shiver”, are named after animals such as “Lynx”, or commemorate famous athletes. There is, for instance, the “Lueders Loop”, curve number seven. It is named after Pierre Lueders, Canada’s 1998 Olympic two-man bobsleigh champion. And only those lugers who master the combination of curves 12, 13, 14 and 15 – the so-called “Gold Rush Trial” – without many mistakes might have a chance of reaching the top of the podium at next year’s Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.