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Young, local athletes get rare opportunity through USA Luge

Next, the young athletes do a series of physical testing, from throwing a medicine ball, to pull-ups, to jumping forward from a standing position.

"It's a good general gauge, along with the other physical tests, of what kind of physical condition their in," added Zimny. "And, to be honest, through the years we started leaning more towards kids that are more physically fit, that may not necessarily do all that great on the sled."

Zimny and the luge team members will travel to eight cities in the country, testing more than 400 athletes. In the end, they will choose 50 kids who will be invited to a screening camp - a one-week training camp in Lake Placid, where they will use an actual iced-luge.

"The best kids from the on-ice screening camp are named to what we call a junior development team, which is kind of the first official team on the team ladder," said Zimny.

The team ladder is an "eight-rung development ladder" that athletes climb in hopes of becoming a member of the senior national and Olympic luge teams. They include the Junior Development Team, Junior Team Candidate Select, Junior Team Candidate, Junior National Team Select, Junior National Team, Graduating Junior, Senior National Team Select Candidate, and the Senior National Team Select.

"The bottom line is there were a few talented kids in this group, and that's what we're looking for," Zimny said.

For more information on the Verizon-USA Slider Search, visit www.usaluge.org.

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