MILTON — What started out as just a fun weekend activity has quickly blossomed into the opportunity for an 11-year-old Milton girl to dream of someday competing in the winter Olympics.
Leslie Krebs, a fifth-grade student at White Deer Elementary School, is the daughter of Todd and Cindy Krebs of Milton. In June, the family learned that Kathryn Terdiman would be presenting a special luge activity for youth in Berwick.
Terdiman is the mother of Jayson Terdiman, a Berwick man who competed in luge during the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Krebs family decided to take Leslie to participate in the activity. About 50 other individuals participated.
“We thought ‘what else is there to do on a Saturday?’” Cindy recalled.
Leslie, who enjoyed watching Olympic luge and bobsledding on television, said she was immediately impressed with the activity in Berwick.
“First, they started off telling you they wanted you to lay down on the luge,” she said. “They told you how to steer it.”
The luge used by the children in Berwick was equipped with wheels, rather than blades, and steep hill in the community was used as a luge course.
An Olympic coach, and even Jayson Terdiman, worked with the children in Berwick.
After the participants had an opportunity to steer the luge down the hill, those running the event soon added another challenge to the afternoon.
“They put some cones out and you had to go in between the cones (while on the luge),” Leslie said.
As the activities wrapped up, the Krebs family was a bit surprised to learn the afternoon was more than just a fun activity.
“They said ‘you could get an email or phone call in late August or early September saying you child is invited to go to Lake Placid, N.Y., to try out for (for the Olympic developmental team),” Cindy recalled.
“We didn’t know it was a thing to try out,” she continued. “We thought it was a demonstration, an educational thing. We were all excited, saying ‘that was really cool. I’m glad we went.’”
As surprised as the family was to learn they had attended an event which was a try-out, they were even more shocked and excited when Leslie received the invitation to advance to a try-out session in Lake Placid.
Leslie will be in Lake Placid March 22-26, training with 11 other prospective athletes for a shot on the Olympic developmental team.
“They want people that will listen and follow directions,” Leslie said. “They are looking for athletes willing to adapt, willing to learn.”
She’s especially looking forward to training in Lake Placid, where she’ll have the opportunity to work with Olympic coaches and athletes, and to steer a luge down the same track used in training by Olympic athletes.
“All night, I just think ‘what will it be like?’” Leslie said. “I think it will be like a huge half-tunnel type thing, that’s around me and ice.”
Cindy describes her daughter as “very determined,” and noted that her daughter had her “game face” on while participating in the event in Berwick.
“She was so serious,” Cindy said. “She was so focused and wasn’t silly about it.”
She also noted that Leslie was noticed her first run down the hill on the luge.
“Jayson’s mom, right after her first run, came up to me and said ‘she’s really good,’” Cindy recalled.
Athletes selected to be part of the Olympic developmental team have the opportunity to progress through the C, B and A teams, with the A team competing in the Olympics.
According to Leslie, athletes must be at least 16 years old to compete in the Olympics.
With excitement in their voices, the Krebs family admits they are watching to see where the Olympics will be held the first year in which Leslie would be eligible to compete.
If you’re thinking about booking a trip to potentially watch Leslie compete, there are currently three cities under consideration to host the 2022 games: Oslo, Norway; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Beijing, China. The host city will be selected July 31.
Leslie is optimistic about her chances of success in Lake Placid.
“I hope to at least get a message saying you are very close to what we’re looking for to join the team,” she said.
Regardless of the outcome, the Krebs are excited for the opportunity which lies ahead for Leslie in Lake Placid.
“It’s a great educational opportunity to see the other athletes going up there,” Cindy said.
In addition to Leslie, the Krebs said one child each from Danville, Bloomsburg, Berwick and New Jersey were all invited, as a result of the event in Berwick, to the Lake Placid tryout.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email email@example.com.