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Training at The Whistler Sliding Centre
At the close of this years sliding season, 2,217 test and training runs were taken on the new Whistler Sliding Centre track. Taking the majority of these first runs was the Canadian bobsleigh, luge and skeleton teams, who really took advantage of the first Canadian Team Training Camps at The Whistler Sliding Centre.
“The more runs you take, the more mistakes you make, the better you are on the track. That is the training philosophy we are going for,” said Team Canada luge athlete and Torino 2006 Olympian Jeff Christie. “Come Games time, we are going to feel that we can handle anything that this track throws at us.”
With two years to go until the 2010 Winter Games, Christie and his teammates will have plenty of time to refine their skills on the track and become confident in their abilities to own the podium come 2010. Over the summer, the final touches on the venue will be completed, ensuring that The Whistler Sliding Centre is fully operational for the 2008-09 season and the two World Cups in February 2009.
Getting the track ready for pre-Games training has been a methodical process. Beginning with site clearing in 2005, the new track layout was plotted and concrete poured during the summer of 2006, and the track and refrigeration systems were completed in 2007. With the external buildings and final touches on the ice completed, the new track was homologated and officially certified for operation the first week of March 2008.
“Homologation is sport technical word which really means certified or sanctioned by our international sport partners, the International Luge Federation (FIL) and the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT),” said Craig Lehto, director of The Whistler Sliding Centre for VANOC.