White Castle and USA Luge, the nation’s two foremost slider experts, announced a two-year partnership extension Monday, furthering White Castle’s position as the first and only fast-food organization to be named an official partner of USA Luge. The partnership also continues White Castle’s position as title sponsor of the longstanding off-season recruitment program, the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search, which introduced the sport of luge to more than 1,200 youth across the U.S. over the past two off-seasons.
Luge has been an Olympic sport since 1964 and consists of athletes sliding down a track of ice on sleds, feet first, at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. Commonly referred to as ‘sliders,’ USA Luge athletes have won six Olympic medals and almost 600 medals in elite level and junior international competition since 1994. The renewed partnership with White Castle comes just before the USA Luge team begins competing in the 2019 Luge World Championships in Winterberg, Germany.
USA Luge’s off-season recruitment effort, the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search program, has been instrumental in raising the sport’s awareness, driving interest among young athletes and providing the talent pool for future Olympic competitors. So much so, that the search was responsible for discovering 65 percent of all current junior athletes in the USA Luge system and three of six athletes competing in the 2019 Luge World Championships.
White Castle’s sponsorship will support the USA Luge team and its summer and fall recruitment tours, which will host events in various cities across the country. Kids aged nine through 13 are welcome to attend the free clinics, experience wheeled luge sleds at slower speeds and ultimately be considered for the USA Luge Junior National Development team. The coaches guiding each event include National and Olympic team athletes, giving each young participant professional instruction and inspiration.
“At White Castle, we’ve been honing our slider skills for 98 years, and we’re always interested in opportunities to further our expertise,” says Lynn Blashford, vice president of marketing at White Castle. “As a family-owned business, we understand exactly what it takes to add to the team, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with USA Luge to share the sport of luge and discover the next generation of USA Luge sliders.”
With support from White Castle’s restaurant and retail grocery divisions, the upcoming recruitment tour will kick off in White Castle’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio in early May of 2019. Additional stops will be announced later this spring and will include locations across the U.S. from coast to coast.
“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with White Castle to bring the Slider Search to cities around the country this off-season to share the sport of luge and find new, young athletes to add to the successes of USA Luge,” adds Gordy Sheer, USA Luge director of marketing and sponsorships, and 1998 Olympic silver medalist. “Over the first two years of our partnership with White Castle, we saw an incredible ninety percent increase in youth that were introduced to the sport through the Slider Search.”