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Carstairs student in Team Canada luge trial finals

Damon McEvoy runs during the RBC Training Ground program. Photo by Dave Holland

CARSTAIRS - Damon McEvoy is hoping to eventually win a place on Team Canada’s Olympic luge team after he was recently selected as a finalist in the RBC Training Ground program.

A 14-year-old Hugh Sutherland student, McEvoy was chosen to take part in the program after being identified at a qualifying event in March.

The top 100 athletes selected from the qualifier events, including McEvoy, will compete in the finals in Toronto on Dec. 2.

McEvoy, who is five-feet, nine-inches tall and weighs 135 pounds, has been busy training for the trip to Toronto with high hopes that he will do well.

“I’m thrilled and very excited to go there,” he told the Albertan. “This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. I’m doing a lot of preparations right now, mentally and physically and visualizing what it be like when I show up. Being able to participate in the Olympics someday is my goal.”

He noted that his training right now includes work on a six-second bike sprint and vertical jumping. 

McEvoy first tried luge on Aug. 18-19 at the ice house facility at WinSport in Calgary.

“It was very fun, and I would recommend everyone to try it,” he said.

The RBC training program is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s official talent search initiative, identifying future Olympians in various sports, including luge.

Luge is one of the world’s fastest non-motorized sports, with competitors riding a small sled down an ice track and routinely reaching speeds well over 100 km/hour.

About 2,200 athletes aged 14 to 25 participated in free local qualifier events in Canada earlier this year, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts.

“Damon exhibited some of the best physical testing scores we saw, so we invited him to a camp where he could try out our sport (luge) and where we could see if that raw ability might translate to luge,” Mike Lane, Junior National head coach with Luge Canada, said in a release.

“When we got him to the ice house he showed a lot of enthusiasm and a real proficiency for the luge-specific skills. We were also impressed with how well he responded to coaching and how he made adjustments, so we’re pleased he was selected for the final.”

Thirty of the athletes going to Toronto next month will be selected in early 2024 to earn funding and a place on Team Canada with one of twelve partner national sports organizations.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to compete with other athletes from all over Canada, and learning as much as I can,” said McEvoy.

Although he has never competed in luge, McEvoy is no stranger to high-level sport competition, being part of the gold medal winning lacrosse team at the 2023 Alberta Summer Games. He is also an accomplished hockey player.

Born in Calgary, McEvoy lives east of Carstairs on the family farm.


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