luge can

December 1, 2012, CALGARY, AB (ISN) The Canadian Luge Association would like to congratulate head coach, Wolfgang Staudinger, on receiving the Petro-Canada Award for Coaching Excellence.

Staudinger, who was one of nine coaches recognized across Canada with the honour, has guided Canadian luge athletes from participants on the start line into medal contenders since he was recruitedfrom Germany to control the reigns as head coach of the national luge squad in 2007.

“Canadian luge athletes have rewritten the history books over the last five years and are now sliding to the international podium at all levels in the sport, thanks in large part to the leadership of Wolfgang and our committed high-performance staff,” said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association, who added Staudinger has helped Alex Gough develop into one of the world’s best sliders. “While we recognize more work needs to be done to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal in luge, we applaud Wolfgang for his efforts and this very deserving award.”

Under Staudinger’s leadership, Canadian luge athletes have racked up eight individual World Cup medals including two gold, Canada’s first World Championship women’s singles medal. The Canadian team also has eight team medals, including two gold to its credit. The team relay competition will be added to the Olympic lineup in 2014.

“Obviously the work Wolfgang, along with our team of coaches, has done with Alex Gough has put us on the international radar screen, and ensured our credibility within the Canadian sport system,” said Farstad. “But it is the overall progress of the team as a whole that is most impressive. Team relay medals exemplify consistency across the board, and the success of an entire program. People are now looking at Canada differently, and realizing we are contenders each time we hit the start line.”

An accomplished athlete, who captured an Olympicbronze medal in 1988 to go along with numerous World Cup and World Championship podium finishes during his illustrious career, Staudinger has instructed many of the top German sliders to Olympic, World Championship and World Cup medals. Staudinger, who began his coaching career in Canada (1988-1992), has also coached in the United States (1993) and was with the German program since 1996.

“Coaching and financial support are critical to success in sport,” added Farstad. “Our sport is a clear example that big things can happen by giving athletes access to the proper financial resources. Through our sport and corporate partners, Own the Podium and Fast Track Capital, wewere able to recruit an award-winning coach to the program who has been able to bring consistency to the team, establish a baseline on equipment, and adoptsome of the technological knowledge into the Canadian program that has made the top nations successful in the sport.”

The Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards recognize coaches whose athletes excelled at World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at the Special Olympics World Games. The Coaching Association of Canada and Petro-Canada honour honoured the 2012 recipients before their peers at the annual Sport Leadership Awards ceremony, during the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference, November 8-10, in Montreal.