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Bateman, Jenkins honored at USA Luge annual meeting

LAKE PLACID USA Luge honored former president Doug Bateman with the Sam Venezia Volunteer Spirit Award at its annual meeting Saturday, June 7. Over the past 25 years, Bateman, a 1984 Olympian in doubles luge, served on the associations executive board as treasurer and vice-president before becoming a two-term president, from 1998 to 2006. During his tenure as president, U.S. athletes raced to silver and bronze medals in the 2002 Olympic doubles event, two overall World Cup doubles titles and six world championship podiums. I had my hands in a lot of things, but we always focused on the athletes first, remarked the 54-year-old Bateman. I sort of take pride in being part of that and making sure that that stayed out in the forefront. Established in 1996, following the 1994 passing of Venezia, the award recognizes outstanding USA Luge volunteers. USA Luge also recognized Gigi Jenkins, of Lake Placid, as the 2008 recipient of the John Jenkins Sports Passion Award. Named for her late husband, John Jenkins, the award honors people who display a true, deep and undying passion for the sport and who have totally committed themselves to the sport out of love without the need for formal recognition. Along with her husband, Gigi was a founding member of the Adirondack Luge Club, based in Lake Placid, and has also been a race official for 30 years. During the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, she served as the luge races assistant race director.

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