Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Despite Success, Canada's Luge Team Looking for Team Sponsor Again

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Despite Success, Canada's Luge Team Looking for Team Sponsor Again

Article excerpt

Canada's luge team looks for financial help


CALGARY - Canada's luge team is for sale again.

The sliders slapped "For Sale" stickers on their helmets to attract a corporate sponsor just a few months before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The strategy worked, but that sponsorship money has run out with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, on the horizon.

Alex Gough, Sam Edney and the rest of the luge team got out their "For Sale" decals and signs again. They invited the media Tuesday for their first training runs of the season at Canada Olympic Park.

"Countries like Germany have such a huge pool of athletes and the corporate backing we haven't been able to secure," Gough said. "Our previous sponsor gave us that and gave us that edge. Now that partnership has ended, we really need someone else to step up.

"It worked last time so we figured we'd give the "For Sale" thing another try."

The difference between Canada's luge team pre-2010 and pre-2014 is that it is capable of winning the country's first Olympic medal in the sport in Sochi. Prior to 2010, luge was the weakest of Canadian sliding sports behind bobsled and skeleton.

Gough, a 26-year-old Calgarian, has broken up German domination of women's singles with a pair of World Cup victories, nine other World Cup medals and two world championship bronze medals over the last four years.

The team relay -- which will makes its Olympic debut in February -- is also fertile ground to produce a Canadian medal.

Gough, Edney and the men's doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, all from Calgary, won silver at this year's world championship and bronze in 2012.

"For the first time ever, we're going to be poised to win a medal," said Tim Farstad, executive director of the Canadian Luge Association. "I think it would be great for a sponsor to come along for the ride."

The luge team raced toboggans down a snowy Calgary hill wearing their "For Sale" stickers in February 2009. Gough now called that a "creative stunt."

Within a day, the team was contacted by the investment company Fast Track Capital and a five-year deal worth just over $1 million was reached. …

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