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Canadian luger slams anti Olympic feeling

Lauscher asks Whistler residents to have open mind and look to legacy of Games

An Olympic-bound luger is speaking out against a perceived undercurrent of negative feeling toward the 2010 Games in Whistler.

Regan Lauscher used her blog to tell people about some recent experiences she's had in Whistler since coming here to train.

"I'm not talking about the majority of people," she said after training for the fastest sliding track in the word on Blackcomb Mountain Tuesday.

"And people are absolutely allowed to have their opinions and be anti-Olympic or not. But we didn't choose to disrupt the community of Whistler. In fact, we were excited because we thought our (Canadian) communities are going to be the first people to get behind us."

In her blog she states that she is less afraid of the resort's black bears than she is of wearing her team colours or letting people know she is from Alberta.

"We were dumbfounded by the lecture we got at Meadow Park Sports Centre for being too aggressive with the gym equipment and bringing too many people into the facility," she wrote.

Lauscher said she and her team members recognize that the Olympics will bring change to the way the community operates for a few weeks but the long-term legacy is worth it.

She points to Calgary's 1988 Winter Olympics as an example.

"Coming from Calgary we have personally experienced the benefits of the 1988 Olympics and been given the opportunities that we have been given from it," said Lauscher.

"And it extends beyond sport. It is something that we feel that we can share with everybody, whether you are a sports fan or not.

"Our hope is for people to really embrace it. It is a journey that we would hope that everybody would want to be part of.

"My suit doesn't say Regan Lauscher. It has a maple leaf of Canada on it."

Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed said he would be looking into what happened at the Meadow Parks Sports Centre.

"I will be looking into the situation and what is happening at the sport centre and making sure that we are providing support," he said.

Melamed admitted that it is a concern for Whistler to have these types of negative comments in the media. But, he said, he wants athletes to know that Whistler is behind them.

"That is the reality, that there are people who are opposed (to the Olympics) and that is their right and we recognize that," he said.

"I just say to the athletes, go forward... knowing you have the full support of the rest of us and we are doing everything we can to make sure you are fully supported so you can do your best during the Games."

Said Whistler resident Brian Buchholz: "I am shocked and disappointed.

"Any frustrations that I see as a member of the community are directed to the (International Olympic Committee) or (the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee) or the (Resort Municipality of Whistler). But I have not seen anybody whisper a frustration or a transfer of that frustration to athletes.

"I certainly don't support it. I love the Olympics."