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Luge athletes robbed of home track advantage

After years of anticipation, we were thrilled to arrive in Whistler last week to take our first runs down the new track at The Whistler Sliding Centre, which also marked the beginning of a two-year journey towards developing home track advantage for the Canadian Luge Team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

But our track to the Olympic podium in Whistler got off to a disheartening bumpy start.

Our team’s headquarters are set up at Alpine Lodge for this three-week March camp. At the end of a grueling week of training both on and off the track, an unwelcomed intruder made his/her way into our lodge this past Sunday night, escaping with two of our computers and camera equipment.

Most of us have had something stolen at one point in our lives. And thinking back to those experiences, we all know thieves take more than the goods. They leave you with a feeling of insecurity and violation that lingers.

In this case, they have also taken away our home track advantage.

As two Olympians on the Canadian Luge Team — one of the only national sport organizations in this country that operates on a miniscule budget without a title sponsor — we depend profoundly on our electronic equipment and other small possessions. The prospect of replacing them presents a demoralizing challenge. In a sport where winning medals is determined by thousandths of a second, sliding-sport athletes use computers and cameras for video analysis to foster development — not to mention to keep in touch with family and friends while representing Canada at international competitions each week throughout the year.

We ask the individuals who walked into Alpine Lodge on Sunday night to remember you took more than just electronic equipment. You have also taken away some of the heart and gold-medal spirit of the Canadian Luge team.

We realize that this incident doesn’t reflect the values of most Whistlerites. We hope that sharing our story with the community may lead someone to return our valued items. If you can help us with this challenge, please contact us via e-mail at cdornan@coda.ca.

Sam Edney,

Ian Cockerline

Canadian Luge Team

Ten years and still no limits how far this can go

Ten years ago I had this crazy idea to bring street kids from the gritty streets of downtown Vancouver to Whistler to snowboard. I was just a skier from Ontario who moved here to rip big mountains, what did I know? I asked a few friends around town if they’d be into supplying gear, lift passes, lessons, food and even a bed and the reaction was unanimously and very enthusiastically — yes! Since that first visit in ’97 we’ve had over 1,500 youth come up to ride Whistler-Blackcomb, and 45 of whom we’ve trained and supported have moved to Whistler to work. Of these, some have been here for nearly a decade. Who would have thought that a squeegee kid from the corner of Main and Terminal with a very uncertain future could end up teaching snowboarding to international jet setters?

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