Veronica RAVENNA - LUGE

​ARG


In Park City, Canadian Alex Gough hit the podium for the third consecutive week, landing in third, while Kim McRae was seventh and Brooke Apshkrum was 19th. As for the men, Mitchel Malyk was the top Canadian, placing 18th, while Whistler's Reid Watts placed 28th as Russia's Roman Repilov took the win.

The Canadian doubles sled of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith placed 18th as Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arit scored the victory.

Ravenna had planned to compete in the Nation's Cup qualifying race in advance of the World Cup here in Whistler the weekend prior, but when the sleds were held up in transit because of inclement weather, the qualifiers were scrapped and the top 24 racers were entered, leaving her on the outside looking in.

"It would have been nice because Whistler's more my home track and I know what to expect here and I know the track very well. It sucked that the weather prevented us from racing, but it turned out pretty well," she said.

On the junior circuit, it's already been a solid season, as Ravenna scored a gold medal on the junior circuit in the team event, joining the Italians for the relay in Calgary at the start of December.

"If a team is missing one out of the three competitors, then they can link up with another country to fill in the spot. It's pretty new, the team relay, so they want as many people competing as possible," she said.

The team relay has a few different rules, Ravenna explained, with the most notable change being that coaches are not allowed to be with the athletes in the start gate. She also feels a little different going in, determined not to impede good showings from others.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking. You don't want to let down the other people," she said.

In other junior action in Alberta, Ravenna took a fourth with the team as well as fifth- and seventh-place showings in singles action. Ravenna will head to Europe in the New Year, competing in both junior and senior races in Germany and Austria. She also hopes to get the opportunity to race at the new PyeongChang, South Korea venue and at the senior season-capper in Altenberg, Germany.ype your paragraph here.

Youth luger Veronica Ravenna had a strong beginning to 2015-16


"I actually found Sigulda to be quite easy once you get the hang of it and my coaches helped me a lot. I am much better at technical tracks since I grew up in Whistler one of the most technical tracks. Having a race in Sigulda also made it more fair since most countries don't go train in Latvia every year," she explained.

She is looking to make the top six in at least one of the remaining FIL races and place in the top 10 at the Youth Olympic Games.

After beginning her career competing at for British Columbia, Ravenna has represented Argentina since last season, when a broken collarbone forced her to miss the Canadian qualifiers and, subsequently, the first half of the season. Her father, Jorge, helped to make arrangements with the Argentinean federation to get her wearing their colours for the remainder of the year and, as it turns out, going forward with her career..

She's looking to keep it up with a pair of races to go on the official FIL youth 'A' calendar. The Junior World Championships and the Youth Olympic Games will follow.

The Whistler resident, who is a dual citizen and represents Argentina in competition, sits 18th overall in the standings with a season-high finish of fifth in Sigulda, Latvia in the season's second race. She's actually slightly behind last year's pace, where she placed 15th overall, though a stop in Oberhof, Germany is still on the docket. Ravenna was sixth there last year.

Reached by email in Europe, where she is preparing for this weekend's event in Altenberg, Germany, Ravenna touched on the first four events of the season and what she'd like to accomplish before it culminates in Lillehammer, Norway with the Youth Olympic Games in February.

With new experience after new experience being presented to Ravenna this season, there have been some struggles, particularly in Konigssee, Germany where she did not finish the race and suffered her first-ever competition crash, but she's been pleased overall.

"This year has definitely had its ups and downs since I went to a lot of new tracks, so it was mainly getting used to the track and improving my starts," she noted.

One of the tracks that seems to give many sliders trouble is the Latvian one, where she notched the best result of the season and second best of her young career. Ravenna pointed out that similarities to the Whistler track and the one in Sigulda helped her adapt a little more quickly.


RAVENOUS FOR LUGE Veronica Ravenna is shown at her FIL World Cup debut in Park City, Utah on Dec. 17.

Her chance to hit the FIL World Cup stage the first time was lost in a prairie blizzard.

But Veronica Ravenna regrouped and, a week later, made the jump to the senior circuit in Park City, Utah on Dec. 17.

The Whistler resident, who suits up for Argentina, took 16th in the women's event, a combined 1.349 seconds back of winner Erin Hamlin of the United States.

"Everyone there is so much bigger, so I wasn't expecting to do as well. It was great fun," she said.

"It's a little scary sliding World Cup for the first time because when you're racing with the younger kids, they make the track fast, but it's not a televised, paid (admission) race. It's a little scary not knowing quite what to expect. It's good to have your coach there and he's there to support you."

Possibly the most stunning element was Ravenna's initial World Cup run. Wearing the No. 3 bib, she found herself in top spot after a surprising number of racers had descended and ended up in 13th after the first go-around.

"After my first run, I was shocked more than anything. With my coach, he said if I beat two people, that was a good race. Then I took the trip back up to the start and I saw that I was still in first place after 10 people had gone down, so I was pretty shocked," she said.

Ravenna eager for season's second half - Youth luger had strong opening to 2015-16

By Dan Falloon - January 2016


The start of Veronica Ravenna's season was delayed, but she quickly got up to speed once she made it.
The 17-year-old luger was injured in early-season training getting ready for Canadian qualifiers, but a surprisingly quick recovery didn't scuttle her whole season.
Though Ravenna missed the opportunity to represent Canada, she and her father, Jorge, quickly made an arrangement with the Argentinian organization to allow her to represent them in the Youth A World Cup. The family arrived in Canada in 2004.
"The Argentinian people were following her, they know her," Jorge said. "We called the Argentinians and they said she can go (represent them). It took 48 hours and then we were on the plane.
"The luge community around the world is really small and all the international federations want more countries involved, so as soon as someone who is not (from) a regular country is competing, they're really open to say 'Yes, come, we need more people. We need more countries.'"
Though Ravenna missed the first half of the Youth A schedule — including two races here in Whistler — with a broken collarbone, Ravenna joined the circuit for the European portion of the schedule. She posted two top-10 finishes in her three outings and finished 15th overall in the standings.
Ravenna was glad to take part in the second half of the season, even if her mindset had to repair alongside her body.
"(The recovery) was actually very quick. I thought it would take much longer," she said. "(Upon returning), I was kind of nervous because I'd been messing up before I broke my collarbone.
"I missed it, definitely."
From there, she returned to Canada and took third at the Canada Cup stop in Calgary on Feb. 22. Squamish's Nicky Klimchuk-Brown also did so on the youth A men's side.
Ravenna was happy with her performance in Alberta.
"It's like our second home track," she said. "I knew the track and I knew all the little secrets and tips. My sled was ready. I was ready."
Like many local lugers, Ravenna got a taste of the sport at the Whistler Sliding Centre. She took to the ice for the first time in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games at the centre and she took to it immediately. Jorge signed her up for the recruitment camp and a speed demon was born.
"It looked really fast when you watch them go, but when you were in it, you felt so in control, it feels so much slower than it was actually going," she said. "It was kind of like a roller coaster."
Though the Whistler leg of the Canadian Youth Championships is set to take place at Whistler Sliding Centre this Friday and Saturday (March 6 and 7), Ravenna won't be in attendance. On March 5, she was invited to train for a week at the track in Lillehammer, Norway and she planned to leave the next day. It's a boon for her, as the 1994 Winter Olympics host is set to hold the Youth Olympics next winter.

SLIDING AHEAD: Local luger Veronica Ravenna had a rough start to the year, but won a bronze medal at the Canadian Youth Championships in Calgary on Feb. 23.

Luger hits World Cup circuit - Ravenna makes podium at Youth Championships
By Dan Falloon - March 2015