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U.S. luge head coach steps down due to Parkinson’s

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Miro Zayonc has stepped down as USA Luge’s head coach, citing the continuing onset of Parkinson’s disease.

He has been in the top role since 2012, helping oversee a major turnaround for the Americans and preparations for next year’s Olympics.

USA Luge has won 29 World Cup medals in the past two seasons, along with three medals at this past season’s world championships.

Zayonc, 56, will be replaced for the coming season by Bill Tavares, who is being promoted to the interim role from his spot as an assistant.

Zayonc will remain with USA Luge as senior adviser to CEO Jim Leahy. He also will work alongside sport program director Mark Grimmette.

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MORE: White Castle sponsors U.S. luge ‘sliders’

White Castle sponsors USA Luge ‘sliders’

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AP
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White Castle is promoting a different kind of sliders.

The fast-food chain, known for its small, square “slider” hamburgers,” is now a sponsor of USA Luge, whose sliders are eyeing the PyeongChang Olympics in 10 months.

It is now the title sponsor of USA Luge’s off-season recruitment program, the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search.

“At White Castle, a family-owned business for 96 years, we have been serving The Original Slider for nearly a century and pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about sliders,” said Lynn Blashford, Vice President of Marketing at White Castle, in a press release. “When we discovered that USA Luge was looking for the next generation of sliders, we knew that White Castle could help fuel their efforts and hopefully help them bring home coveted medals for many Winter Games to come.”

More on the two-year partnership is here.

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Erin Hamlin wins second World Luge Championships medal in two days

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IGLS, Austria (AP) — German luger Tatjana Huefner won the women’s singles race at the world championships on Saturday for her fifth career individual gold medal and first in five years.

Leading after the first run, Huefner posted the second-fastest time in the final run to beat Erin Hamlin of the United States by 0.213 seconds and Kimberley McRae of Canada by 0.240. Hamlin had won the gold medal in Friday’s sprint event.

Olympic and defending world champion Natalie Geisenberger was only 17th before setting a track record of 39.822 seconds in the final run to finish sixth, 0.294 behind her German teammate.

Huefner has won eight medals at world championships and three at Olympics, including gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Later Saturday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken led a German sweep of the podium in the men’s doubles.

Eggert and Benecken posted a track record of 39.468 seconds in the first run and held on to their lead to beat Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by 0.206 and Robin Geueke and David Gamm by 0.385.

Austrians Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were the best non-German finishers in fourth.

It was the first world title for Eggert and Benecken, who had won silver three times before. They have won seven of nine races in the luge World Cup season.

The worlds conclude with the men’s singles race and a team relay on Sunday.