HomeAnnouncementFormer Olympian turns to Utica to recruit luge athletes

Former Olympian turns to Utica to recruit luge athletes

The world has gone through a lot of changes in the last year and a half. Many of us have spent more time indoors, which has had an impact on sports recruitment.

The effects have been seen on all levels, even for Olympians, a former of which is now in Utica, looking to recruit luge athletes.

Aidan Kelly is USA Luge’s head of development and the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search event manager.

“I have the most fun at USA Luge, without a doubt. This is the best,” Kelly said.

The slider search was held in October, once again with the intentions of turning a Utica street into a track. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.

“Just great to be back here,” Kelly said. “It’s disappointing I have to tell everyone we can’t run because of the rain.”

Kelly got his start through the USA Luge Slider Search program.

“I was a skateboarder for a really long time. I liked going fast on wheels. I like scaring my mom, most importantly, and when she heard about the slider search and saw that there was an opportunity to try luge not on the ice, I was like, ‘Yup. Sign me up!’” he said.

Years later, Kelly found himself competing in the 2014 Olympic Games.

“I finished 24th. Not my best showing, but I was 19. I was just really happy to be there,” Kelly said.

He’s hoping more kids aspire to be competing in the Olympics, too, but Kelly says COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into things.

“Everybody got pretty OK with sitting inside and not doing a whole lot for a pretty long time. So now, we just want to be a part of making sure people get back to being active, and try to get a little bit more toward back to normal life,” Kelly said.

Kelly says there are only two places in the country to practice luge: Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York. He says registration for the Utica event tends to fill up quickly online.

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