USA Luge, the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, and the U.S. Nordic teams will begin to take shape when each of the federations hold their national team and U.S. national championship events beginning this weekend, Oct. 12-13, in Lake Placid.
The events will help each organization select its fall 2013 World Cup team. And for many of these athletes, this will be the first step towards perhaps making the Olympic team that will compete in February’s winter games in Sochi, Russia.
Sliding on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex combined track got underway on October 1 and bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes have already begun preparing for national team trials and selection races. U.S. two-man and women’s bobsled racing on the one-mile long track is slated for Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Skeleton’s national team trials are set for Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 21-22, from 8-11 a.m.
Those U.S. bobsled and skeleton athletes who do make the World Cup team could find their way back to Lake Placid in December when the track plays host to the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (FIBT) World Cup. The Dec. 9-15 event will showcase many of the athletes who will compete in Sochi.
The United States luge team will also begin selecting its national team this Saturday. Men’s singles, women’s singles and the doubles sleds will tackle the 20-curve course beginning at 7:30 a.m.
On Sunday, Oct. 13, at 11 a.m., watch as our nation’s best compete for the title of U.S. national champion in the sports of ski jumping and Nordic combined during the annual Flaming Leaves Festival. These athletes will be launching themselves off the Olympic Jumping Complex’s 90-meter ski jump.
The 90K ski jumping lineup will be star-filled and is expected to include World Champion Lindsey Van and 2010 Olympian Peter Frenette. Van and the rest of the world’s top women ski jumpers will make their Olympic debut in Sochi, while Frenette, who was the United States’ second youngest athlete during the 2010 winter games, is eyeing his second games.
While these athletes soar through the air, fans will have the opportunity to meet several athletes who hope to represent the United States during February’s games. Andrew Weibrecht, the reigning Olympic men’s Super-G bronze medalist, and women’s bobsled athlete Jamie Greubel, as well as other bobsled, luge, skeleton and ski jumping athletes will be on hand, beginning at 1:30 p.m. to sign autographs, pose for pictures and talk about their dreams for February.
Reigning Nordic combined Olympic Champion; Bill Demong is expected to compete in his final U.S. national championship event of his career. Of course, he’ll also be looking ahead to February’s games in Sochi where he will try to defend his Olympic crown.
The Nordic combined national championship event will wrap up Sunday when the athletes ski 10-kilometers around the newly constructed Olympic Jumping Complex roller ski loop. The four-lap (6.2 mile-long) race is slated to begin at 3 p.m.
Activities at the jumping complex wrap up at 4 p.m. with the “Send off to Sochi” celebration. The event will recognize several athletes from the Lake Placid region who are expected to compete in February. Since the first Olympic Winter Games, in 1924 in Chamonix, France, the Lake Placid area has sent at least one athlete to compete. Four years ago, 12 area athletes competed in the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
Following the “Send off to Sochi,” winter sports fans are welcome to attend the 8 p.m. showing of the movie Ready to Fly, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. The film follows Van, the 2009 world champion, and the U.S. women’s ski jumping team in their quest to be included in the Olympic Games. All proceeds, from the $10 donation per person, will go to support the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and the U.S. women’s ski jumping team. Van and her teammates Jessica Jerome, Abby Hughes, Allisa Johnson and other members of the U.S. squad will also be on hand for a meet-and-greet in the lobby of the LPCA.
For more information about all of the events and activities taking place this weekend on ORDA’s Olympic venues, log onto www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.