Addison Inman and her father pose at the Team USA training facility in Lake Placid, New York, in December.
Addison Inman has dreams of Olympic gold. The Camano Island 13–year–old was recently selected to join Team USA Luge‘s Junior National Team. “I was excited, pretty happy and surprised,” she said. Addison is one of the 76 athletes at various levels named to the 2020–21 Junior National Team and Junior Cand D teams. She will start out on the D team, said Gordy Sheer, a spokesman for USA Luge and a 1998 Olympic silver medalist. : “It‘s the first rung on the ladder,” Sheer said of Addison‘s progress. “She will be learning the basics. Evaluated to see skills, coachability, strength, and attitude. It‘s where we start to see how they can develop as athletes.”
Addison was among 40 or so 9– to 13–year–olds to participate in Team USA Luge‘s Slider Search program in May 2019 on the soap box derby track at Arrowhead Ranch on Camano Island. An Olympic sport since 1964, luge consists of athletes sledding down a track of ice at speeds of about 90 mph at top levels of the sport. This off-season, the I Slider Search reached about 900 kids across the country looking for future Olympic athletes in the sport, but it was the organization’s first time in the Stanwood-Camano area. It was there that Addison first tried luge, though on wheels rather than ice. Kids received instruction from Olympic sledders John Fennell and Aidan Kelly, who each competed in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“We would have never got into luge without Randy and Marla (Heagle, owners of Arrowhead Ranch) helping to bring the Slider Search here,” said Danielle Inman, Addison‘s mother. “We have had a huge life–change because of it.” From that event, Addison was chosen to attend a three-day training camp in December in Lake Placid, New York. “I was very serious about it and (had) a positive attitude,” said Addison, who also had one of the fastest times. “It’s cold, but fun. It’s way different on the ice – way faster, more twisty and takes a lot of muscles.”
She said she‘s fallen for the sport. “I like adrenaline. I like to go fast,” Addison said. “I want to go to the Olympics. Now, I just need to be the best that I can be and move my way up.” Addison and her family are now raising funds to help pay for her travels, which include seven weeks of training in the winter at Lake Placid, New York, and Park City, Utah.
When at Lake Placid, the Junior Team members are housed at the Olympic Training Center, which features a large indoor training facility. “It‘s an ideal situation for any luge athlete because they‘re all together and push each other,” Sheer said. “Even if they don‘t go further than a year or two at the D team, it‘s a great experience.”
Sheer also said the Slider Search event will come back to Arrowhead Ranch, possibly next year. “We want to get back out there,” Sheer said. But the COVID–19 pandemic halted the program as well as several summer camps for the Junior National Team. “We think there‘s an opportunity to build a luge culture out there.”
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