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Shelley Osterloh ReportingIt’s one year until the next Winter Olympic Games and Luge Sliders can size up this weekend. The World’s best are here in Salt Lake City once again, this time its for the World Championships.
Americas' World Championship team has been training all week at the Utah Olympic Park for the three day event. Olympian singles slider Tony Benshoof is ranked sixth in the world.
Tony Benshoof: “It’s the biggest race of the year. Everyone is going to be trying their hardest. This is, for me, my home track, so there are a lot of expectations. It’s one of the fastest tracks in the world. It’s the most challenging. It’s going to be a great race.”
Olympian Ashley Hayden has had her best season yet. While taking courses at BYU she still managed to break the hold German women have had on the podium, winning a bronze World Cup medal in Germany.
Ashley Hayden, Luge: “That was a huge boost in confidence. You always tell yourself it is possible to break into the German squad, but to actually do it and do it on their own home track is kind of like a dream come true.”
The doubles team of Martin and Grimmette took silver in 2002; in World Championships they've taken bronze three times. They hope to improve on that.
Brian Martin, Doubles Luge: "Certainly tired of bronze at the Worlds. It would be nice to get a little higher, stand on top of the podium and hear the anthem."
Grimmette and Martin are America's most decorated sliders with 50 international medals, ten World Cup victories, and two Olympic medals. They say, like any partnership, communication is key to success.
Mark Grimmette, Doubles Luge: “We have good communication, very straight forward communication. And you need that.”
20-year old Salt Lake City native Preston Griffall and his partner are two time Junior World Champions now competing with the world's best.
Preston Griffall, Luge: "I'm very excited and it's awesome that my first world championships are here in my home town, so that's great."
The 2005 Luge World Championships run Friday through Sunday at the Utah Olympic Park. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. women and doubles compete for the title "World Champion." On Saturday it’s men's singles, and Sunday is team competition.