Adopt some balls, support USA Luge | News, Sports, Jobs – Lake Placid News

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Feb 10, 2022
About 1,800 lacrosse balls begin their race down the luge track at Mount Van Hoevenberg during the 2021 Running of the Balls fundraiser for USA Luge. (Photo provided)
There is still time to adopt lacrosse balls for USA Luge’s seventh annual Running of the Balls benefit race, to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 16 on the Mount Van Hoevenberg track in Lake Placid.
This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the U.S. luge team, and it is crucial to finding and grooming athletes before they head to international competitions, such as the Winter Olympics.
We’re incredibly proud of our USA Luge Olympians this year at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Beijing, China. While most of the world only sees the small team of athletes performing halfway across the world every four years, we see them all the time. They are our neighbors and friends, living, training and working here in Lake Placid, with their headquarters on Church Street near the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.
Yet there is a much bigger team that fuels the USA Luge engine — the office staff, coaches and athletes in the development programs.
It costs a lot of money to run USA Luge. First, they need to find athletes, which is done through slider searches around the country. Then they attend sliding camps, train alongside other aspiring Olympians and work their way through the junior program in the hope of making the national team and then the Olympic team. It’s quite a process and can take decades to get from a 10-year-old at a slider search to an Olympian, but that’s the course Zack DiGregorio and others have taken over the years.
So we encourage you to become part of the USA Luge family and adopt a ball or two (as many as you’d like) for the annual Running of the Balls benefit this year.
On Feb. 16, more than 1,000 lacrosse balls will make about a 1-mile run from near the top of the Olympic Sports Complex sliding track to Curve 19, one curve shy of the track’s finish line. The balls are being donated by Summit Lacrosse Ventures.
The Running of the Balls is similar to the Lake Placid Rotary Club’s Dam Duck Race on the Chubb River. People adopt rubber ducks that race over the Mill Pond dam and into the river, and they are collected a short distance downstream. With Running of the Balls, people adopt lacrosse balls in the chance one of their balls will cross the finish line first (or last). People don’t actually keep the balls they adopt, as they are used at local lacrosse tournaments.
Proceeds for the past six years were about $12,000 in year one (March 2016); $17,000, year two; $10,000, year three; $13,000, year four; $19,000, year five; and $38,000, year six. The goal this year is $45,000.
The proceeds are used to support the athletes and programs of USA Luge. As USA Luge Director of Marketing and Sponsorships Gordy Sheer — a 1998 Olympic silver medalist — has reminded us in the past, “People sometimes forget that we have to recruit, train, develop and support athletes from day one in this sport. There’s no collegiate or little league for luge, so it’s incumbent upon us to assume the development of the entire pipeline.”
Participating in this event is a great way to support USA Luge athletes as they prepare for and compete in World Cup events on their way to the next Olympic Winter Games.
The event will air on the organization’s website (www.usaluge.org) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Cash and prizes from Duluth Trading Company will be offered for the top 10 balls and the last place ball. Cash prizes are as follows: 1) $1,000; 2) $500; 3) $300; 4) $200; 5) $100; places 6-10, prizes TBA.
There will also be a race within the race as a collection of blue-colored lacrosse balls will roll down the sliding track simultaneously with the yellow and white.
The yellow and white balls are offered at $10 each or three for $25. The blue balls can be purchased at $30 each. Winners of the blue ball race will win a trip to the next domestic World Cup (airfare, lodging and ground transportation).
“With the Olympic Games in Beijing going on,” Sheer said, “this funding will begin our drive to the games in 2026. Our teams will be training and competing non-stop over the next four years, so our financial need is ongoing.”
People may purchase balls by logging on to https://go.teamusa.org/3efwB1d. All sales will conclude at noon Feb. 15.
Hundreds of functions in the North Country depend on volunteerism. People are fed and clothed, the ill and injured …
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