Financial support from Uihlein Foundation helps USA Luge C and D Teams
by Sandy Caligiore
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – One of the unnoticed impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic within the general public has been the cost of developing future national and Olympic teams. But those costs have certainly registered with teams such as USA Luge and its group of supportive parents that bring their youngsters to Lake Placid for training camps.
In the past, these members of the C and D teams, striving to make the junior national team on their way to the top rungs of the ladder, were billeted at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center (OPTC) in Lake Placid. Room, board, workout rooms, sports science and a fieldhouse for team activities – they were literally at arm’s length for all development teams. But the COVID crisis reduced the number of athletes staying at the OPTC to just those who are Tokyo and Beijing eligible, thus forcing the luge national governing body to seek outside dorms and services to accommodate the teams and allow them to have continuity in their off-season training.
Enter Northwood School in Lake Placid and the Uihlein Foundation who came to the organization’s rescue. Northwood School, a time-honored academy that has produced Winter Olympians in skiing and hockey, stepped forward to provide an appropriate training setting, while the Uihlein Foundation covered the difference in the cost between the OPTC and the local prep academy.
“The goal is to keep athletes in town and help control costs for the families involved while engaging other local institutions outside of the OPTC,” said Gordy Sheer, USA Luge Director of Sponsorship and Marketing. “We were fortunate to have the Uihlein Foundation and Northwood step forward, understanding the importance of these training programs to our younger teams.”
This continues the Uihlein Foundation’s long-time support of USA Luge. The philanthropy of Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein, felt in many corners of this Olympic Village, has greatly assisted with wind tunnel testing for over a decade and will continue to do so this summer and fall in the run-up to the Beijing Games. They have also extended financial support to the team’s technical programs through the years, funding the construction of sled parts at local boat building shop Placid Boatworks, among other projects.