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Artificial Track News vom 23.02.09  
153,98 km/h – new speed record at the “Whistler Sliding Center”“The Olympic Games could well start tomorrow“

Whistler (pps) The curves have awesome names such as “Thunderbird” or “Shiver”, arenamed after animals such as “Lynx” or commemorate notable events. There is, for instance,the “Lueders Loop”, curve number seven. It is called after Pierre Lueders, Canada’s 1998 Olympic bobsleigh champion in the two-man, who crashed during the homologisation in March 2008. Just like a corkscrew he then spectacularly rotated around his own axis. Only

those lugers who will master the combination of curves 12, 13, 14 and 15 – the so-called “Gold Rush Trial” – without any mistakes, might have a chance to be digging for gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (February 12-28, 2010) at the “Whistler Sliding Centre”.

„The track is fast, incredibly fast”, disclosed Austria’s Andreas Linger, 2006 Olympic doubles’ champion together with his brother Wolfgang. “Already at the women’s start we achieve a speed of more than 100 km/h. That’s really unique world-wide,” specified Felix Loch of Germany, two-time World champion despite his young age (19). The youngest World champion of all times in the history of the International Luge Federation, FIL, added: “Standing at the start you feel a special tension. Because this track punishes the slightest mistake – I’ve made this painful experience myself.” During the FIL international training week last autumn, the young athlete crashed and suffered two torn shoulder ligaments. This is why he was unable to compete in the first three events of the Viessmann Luge World Cup series.

But for all that Loch still likes the track in the “Blackcomb Mountains“. “At every corner there’s someone who is working on something. You get the impression that the Olympic Games could well start tomorrow.” Austria’s Andreas Linger agrees: “The entire layout is excellent and the atmosphere is just great.” His compatriot Tobias Schiegl, 1998 and 2006 Olympic fourth-placed in the double-seater together with his cousin Markus, 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.”

And the artificially-iced track – according to official statements built for 105 million Canadian dollars (the equivalent of 68 million euros) – is simply fast. On top of everything, the track in the “Blackcomb Mountains” has made it into the history books at the final of the Viessmann Luge World Cup series when Felix Loch of Germany achieved a new World luge record with a top speed of 153,98 km/h. Former “record-holder” Georg Hackl of Germany, three-time Olympic and three-time World champion (1989, 1999 and 1997) achieved a top speed of 144,3 km/h at the 34th FIL Luge World Championships at St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 2000. Felix Loch: “That’s really quite something.”