The “fantasy camp” experience seems to be kind of a misnomer.  While you may not actually participate in a league-sanctioned contest, you do get to experience just about everything these athletes do on “game” day.  The USA Luge team, proudly sponsored by World Financial Group (WFG), had their Fantasy Camp from April 6-9, and WFG Executive Marketing Director, Mel Bell of Ogden, Utah, attended with his wife Cheryl and son Matt.

Upon their arrival at the USA Luge training center in Lake Placid, N.Y., Mel said that he and his family filled out “enough waivers and release of liability forms to make [any legal department] drool with envy.”  When that was over, the Bell family checked into the same dorm that the U.S. athletes use when they are training, which, according to Mel, was “awesome, complete with cafeteria (great food), gym, internet access, etc.”

But, like any athlete in training, there wasn’t much time for rest.  That evening, Gordy Sheer, Marketing Director for USA Luge, had the attendees fitted for their luge gear and gave everyone a rundown of what to expect during the Fantasy Camp.  The attendees would have starting gate training and take runs on the same track used in the 1980 winter games.

The next morning, when Mel took his first run, he said that about halfway down “ is when you get the mixed emotions of ‘I could really die’ and ‘this is the most fun I’ve ever had’”.  Throughout the Luge Fantasy Camp, the attendees learned how to properly launch as well as gather speed.  Mel also told us that the USA Luge team trained alongside them.  Even the public address announcer got into the action, providing play-by-play commentary and announcing times.  “[It] became quite competitive,” Mel told WFG Sports.

When not in training, Mel, his family and the “campers” had time to tour the luge training center.  One place visited was the hockey rink, which was the site of the 1980 winter game’s famous US/USSR hockey game.

So, how was the fantasy camp experience?  “This was truly another one of those ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ we experience at World Financial Group over and over again. I am so grateful my wife, son, and I were able to represent our great company at this event,” Mel says.   Keep reading for the latest from “the fastest sport on ice”.

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