Berwick native Jayson Terdiman represented his country at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. A member of the U.S. Luge team, Terdiman placed 11th in the doubles competition with Christian Niccum and sixth in the team relay.
Today, others will have a chance to begin following his same path as registrations are being held for the USA Luge Slider Search event in Berwick. The sign-up window is from 9-11 a.m. at the Berwick Eagles building at 107 S. Market St. for a fee of $15.
Participants who register receive a Slider Search T-shirt, three hours of instruction by USA Luge coaches and athletes and an autographed photo from Terdiman. Children registering must be accompanied by a parent.
A separate sign-up for kids ages 9-13 will be held from June 14-15.
Terdiman got his start through the Slider Search, attending events in New York and Philadelphia before making his way onto the national luge circuit.
The mission of the program is to train, identify and qualify young athletes for the USA Luge development team.
USA Luge Junior National Team coach Fred Zimny, who is in Chicago for a Slider Search this weekend, talked about how future lugers find their way to success.
“It’s the main feeder program for athletes,” Zimny said. “We have athletes come from various places for future luge teams. Erin Hamlin, who won a bronze in Sochi this winter, started 12 years ago. She made it through the clinic and made it up to the national team. It’s her third Olympic team.”
The Slider Search program weekend consists of four three-hour clinics, two on Saturday and Sunday.
Zimny has been doing the searches for 25 years and went into more detail about what happens at each search.
“We teach kids basics of luge, steer sled and others. We take them down a hill in a host city that is a quarter of a mile long half-way down and each level the hill is higher and higher until we get to the start ramp, in conjunction with a small battery of fitness tests.”
The most successful participants will be invited to Lake Placid, New York, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, to try luge on the ice track used by the national team.
The last time the search was in Northeastern Pennsylvania was at Montage Mountain in August 2012.
“There was a few spots open, but it was a pretty good turnout,” Zimny said. “We have a few kids from the program at Montage now on our (developmental) team for our national team structure.”
Seven members currently on the USA luge national team came through the Slider Search.