Oberhof, Germany has been a haven for winter sports for over 100 years, and the World Financial Group-sponsored USA Luge team had the opportunity to visit this beautiful hamlet over the weekend.  This was their final stop in Germany for the season and the penultimate meet before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Nations Cup racing started the event on January 15.  Sliding for the US men were Chris Mazdzer and WFG-adopted athlete, Bengt Walden.  Chris’s time of 45.839 seconds, which was only 0.43 seconds off the leader, earned him 7th place and Bengt’s time of 45.912 seconds earned him 10th place.  The lone USA Luge woman sliding in the Nations Cup was Megan Sweeney who earned 9th place with a time of 44.131 seconds, only 0.487 seconds off first.

World Cup racing began Saturday.  Among the men, Tony Benshoof was the highest placing USA Luge member whose combined time of 1:32.012, just 0.629 seconds off first, earned him 11th place.  Not too far behind him was Chris Mazdzer with a time of 1:32.107 that placed him 14th.  And WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden rounded out the US competitors with a time of 1:32.646, placing him 25th.

The women had three USA Luge team members among its rankings.  Finishing best was World Champion Erin Hamlin with a combined time of 1:27.188 – 1.252 seconds off the leader – that earned her 8th place.  Placing 14th was Julia Clukey with a time of 1:27.544, and coming in 16th, with a time of 1:27.591, was Megan Sweeney.

In doubles World Cup sliding, WFG-adopted athletes Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin finished in 7th place with a combined time of 1:26.518, only 0.951 seconds off first.  And coming in 9th were Christian Niccum and Dan Joye with a time of 1:26.694.

And in the meet-ending relay race, the USA Luge team of Erin, Chris, Mark and Brian finished fifth with a time of 2:30.806, which was 1.027 seconds off first.

World Cup racing resumes on January 29 in Cesana, Italy.  We at World Financial Group wish the USA Luge team continued success there, as well as at the 2010 Olympics. Go Team USA!

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