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The United States has hundreds of sports programs and

camps to meet your child’s needs. Your choice will depend

on whether your child is looking for a competitive program

or one that is less intent on “the win,” more relaxed, and

more interested in teaching the sport, playing the game, and

having fun.

This section reviews the U.S.A. Slider Search, which is the

name for the U.S. Olympic Luge Team Recruitment Effort.

This is one example of how a parent may involve a child in

an Olympic Sport. There are many other Olympic sports, and

some are more competitive than others and some offer greater

opportunity for involvement.


Olympic sports camp

Brad Clark, Director

Lake Placid, NY 12946

(518) 523-1655 ext. 250

QUICK TAKE: Do you ever wonder how kids make it to the

Olympic Winter Games? Well it’s obvious that they choose a

sport, work hard, and dedicate their lives to it. ORDA is a

good place to begin. If your child has an affinity for the bobsled,

ORDA is where he or she must train. It’s a camp where

students get to “be” the people in the bobsled and “be” the

people skiing. This program provides the knowledge and training

needed to start working on Olympic sports. The program

also includes opportunities to see the area and the Winter

Olympic Museum.

AGE REQUIREMENT: The earlier the better—grade school age

and older.

FEES: One-day rate for the day camp, $65; multiday rates available.

Training and classes take place at ORDA.

BACKGROUND: Lake Placid Gold Medal Games encourage

teamwork and camaraderie through group sports. Classes

are held in the summer and winter; sports offered vary with

the season. The Gold Medal Adventure Day Camp is held from

June to September.

DESCRIPTION: This is where a child can get that Winter

Olympics feel. However, if the Summer Olympics is your kid’s

thing, you can also begin your research here. The Gold Medal

Adventure Day Camp provides the equipment needed to participate

in the many sports it offers, among them the luge, freestyle

skiing, canoeing, and bobsledding. Before the students

start practicing, they will be trained under professionals to

ensure safety. Students will also receive lunch and are given

the chance to tour the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Museum.

OUR TAKE: This is the best way for your child to understand

firsthand what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. This is a

great way for students to learn to work together and make

new friends as they learn and play amazing sports. The camp

allows for many adventures during the day, plus time to see

the awe-inspiring memorabilia in the museum. There are so

many programs available to all ages that this could be a funfilled

family vacation. See the Web site for more information.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: The camp is designed to allow time

for leisure and for beginners to learn to ski/bobsled/luge or

participate in any other sport and could really get your child

thinking about the devotion and time it takes to become an



U.S. Olympic Luge Team Recruitment Effort

Registration Department

35 Church Street

Lake Placid, NY 12946-1805

(800) USA-LUGE

QUICK TAKE: Step one in the recruitment effort of the highly

decorated U.S. Olympic Luge Team. If your child is an Olympic

hopeful looking for a sport that has an on-going recruitment

effort, then the USA Slider Search is for your child. Even for

the kids who don’t qualify for the intensive one-week winter

training camp in Lake Placid, New York, this program offers

fun and challenges.


FEE: Registration, $15.


BACKGROUND: This program was established in 1986 by Bonnie

Warner, a former luge athlete from California. Today, the

Slider Search conducts annual searches in eight cities across

the United States and is the primary source for finding talent

for the U.S. Luge team. Aspiring athletes are offered the opportunity

to participate in the weekend programs, designed

to recruit kids for the team.

DESCRIPTION: Throughout the summer, the Slider Search team

travels to different quadrants of the country for weekend

sessions in which kids learn the nuances of competing in the

luge. They are shown actual equipment used in the Winter

Games and are introduced to the summer equipment, which

is a sled anchored by inline skating wheels. Then, the kids are

taken to a slope where they gradually go further distances and

are presented with increasingly difficult obstacles. Finally, a

small battery of fitness tests and an obstacle course are given

to test the kids’ athletic abilities. Strong upper-body strength

is a plus. At the end of the summer, the most promising 75

from the more than 800 participants come to Lake Placid in

the winter for one of three one-week training camps (25 kids

per camp).

OUR TAKE: What we really like about the U.S.A. Luge Slider

Search is that everyone gets to participate. Even if the kid isn’t

gifted enough to make it to Lake Placid in the winter, he or

she gets a chance to have fun, learn a new sport, and get a

feel for the competitive process. The bottom line is that for a

very nominal expenditure a child can try out for the Olympics

and possibly make it to the next step. It’s an experience and

an event from which memories are made.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: If you plan ahead your child can prepare

a bit, improve upper body strength, and possibly even

practice on a summer luge to get a feel for the sport. It’s an

accessible opportunity for a child to fulfill his/her dream and

focus on a competitive objective. Who knows, the next step

could be the Lake Placid luge track.