Olympic hopefuls learning to fly and slide
The Telus Whistler Sport Centre, which was created as part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bids LegaciesNow program, hit the road this month to recruit future Olympians into ski jumping and luge. Although the participants arent even teenagers yet, the centre hopes to generate interest in these sports and identify talent the kids didnt even know they have.
"This is the time to start," said sport centre manager Todd Allison. "By exposing these youngsters to the sport now, hopefully, we can begin the process to compete in the 2010 Winter Games."
Stops for the sport centre including ski jumping events at Fernie Alpine Resort and the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden. Kids between the ages of six and 10 were offered the chance to try the sport on a small ski jump.
At Kicking Horse, Allison was joined by Canadas best Nordic Combined athlete, Jason Myslicki.
The first group of kids who were introduced to the luge in Abbotsford back in January have already participated in a National Team Talent Identification camp in Calgary on March. 9. According to Tim Farstad, the co-ordinator for the Candian Luge Association National Team, all three athletes Karli-Ann Murray, Corey Stesson and Luke Leger, the best in Januarys try-out showed promise on the ice.
Other initiatives include hiring a Level 3 cross-country coach in the Sea to Sky area to work with young cross country skiers, the creation of a cross-country program to retain Jackrabbits after they grow out of Jackrabbit programs, purchasing a special light rifle that can help kids train for the biathlon, and hosting coaching clinics for snowboarders at provincial snowboarding events.
A van will travel the province this summer giving more kids a chance to try the street luge, light gun, and various other tools and toys that can be used to identify specific athletic talents.
LegaciesNow is a joint initiative of the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation, its corporate sponsors and the provincial government. The Telus Whistler Sport Centre was created out of this initiative to support high performance athletes, and to help create and fund sports programs that could one day supply athletes to Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics and beyond.
Currently the Telus Whistler Sport Centre is the countrys premier development agency for Nordic, alpine and sliding sports, concentrating on sports that dont already have a good feeder system in place.