SLAM!Sports
November 29, 2005
Battlin' brothers let it slide
Local luging siblings determined to fight for Olympic glory
By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

The concept of piling on top of a younger brother to feed him a series of noogies, body shots and face washes has been around forever.

The idea of doing it at 130 km/h in pursuit of Olympic glory is completely different.

And while Calgary's doubles luge partners Chris and Mike Moffat are well aware their vocation is one full of punchlines, their father's biggest concern when they paired up revolved around punches, period.

"That's always been the ongoing joke -- you put us together and you wouldn't be able to break up the fights," said Mike, 23, who returned from Germany yesterday where he and his sibling clinched an Olympic berth.

"We do fight about it but I can be open and honest about it and go to bed and he's still my brother.

"With a partner, you don't know -- they could hold a grudge."

Having competed against one another at the 2002 Salt Lake Games (Chris and Eric Pothier set a Canadian record finishing fifth, while Mike and Grant Albrecht finished 12th), the Moffats then decided to walk away from the sport.

Unable to see eye-to-eye with his coach, Mike pursued his bachelor of justice degree while working as a parole officer at a Calgary halfway house.

Chris studied kinesiology at Mount Royal College before taking over as coach of the national junior team.

After three years away from sport, they discussed returning last December with an eye on the 2010 Games where their goal is to leave with medals.

"We always kind of joked about it but we kind of asked, 'Why not compete together?' " laughed Mike, whose father, Ed, is president of the Canadian Luge Association.

"Sure enough, we were extremely overweight at the time. Together we've lost about 35 kilos since then. I don't think I've ever seen athletes paired up after three years off with a new partner and start so strong. We've always been on the same page, if not on the same sled."

Shocking the luge world last week with a sixth-place finish in Italy, marking their first World Cup event in three years, the duo clinched their return ticket to Turin with an eighth-place finish Sunday in Altenberg, Germany.

It sets them up nicely for the World Cup races at Canada Olympic Park Dec. 9 and 10 where they can continue to tinker with technique and technology.

"Originally, this year was supposed to be a development year -- we said if we got to Turin, then great but the big goal is 2010," said Chris, 26, admitting they've had their share of fights on the hill.

"By the time we get home, it's already settled. It's not like I can divorce him from being my brother. I think it's just normal. He was a little pesky brother always tagging along. I was the older brother who was the target for being picked on."

With Mike in charge of steering while lying underneath his taller brother, the question had to be asked: Is it better or worse to have a sibling pancake you in Lycra as opposed to a pal?

"Yeah, two guys in spandex ... we take the jokes all with a grain of salt," chuckled Mike, born and raised in Silver Springs.

"It's better because I know his girlfriend."

Chris agreed.

"It really doesn't matter but I've had to share beds with Mike camping and travelling -- he's family," he chuckled. "I guess you could say it takes a real man to lay on top of another man in spandex."


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