Behind the Scenes in Sochi

As promised, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Army National Guard athletes Preston Griffall and Matthew Mortensen, and their coach, William Tavares, as they prepared for the luge doubles event this week at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (photos courtesy of U.S. Army IMCOM).

From all of us at On Your Guard – congratulations on a job well done!

SSG William Tavares

SSG William Tavares walks the luge track before race day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press conference
SGTs Mortensen and Griffall answered questions at a press conference on Monday, two days before their event.
Practice run

They also did some practice runs on Monday.

Before the first run

Coach Tavares offers SGTs Griffall and Mortensen some final words of encouragement before their first run.

First run on race day

Rounding a curve in their first run of Olympic luge doubles at Sanki Sliding Center on Feb. 12 ... their two-run combined time was 1:41:703 and they finished in 14th place.

 

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On Their Way

This week, SGT Preston Griffall, SGT Matt Mortensen, and SSG William Tavares, head to Sochi, Russia, ready to represent the Army National Guard, the Army World Class Athletes Program, and the U.S. Olympic Luge Team at the 2014 Winter Games.

Check out their bios and stay tuned to On Your Guard over the next two weeks for a behind-the-scenes look at this doubles team and their coach, as well as race photos and results.

Preston Griffall

SGT Preston Griffall

SGT Preston Griffall

Luge Doubles

Age: 29

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 155lbs

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

MOS: 42A Human Resources Specialist

Home Unit: Joint Forces Headquarters, Utah

Career Highlights:

  • 2013 – Team relay silver medalist, World Cup, Park City, Utah
  • 2013 – Team relay silver medalist, World Cup, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2013 – Sixth place, World Cup, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2012 – U.S. doubles champion
  • 2011 – Seventh place, World Championships, Cesana Pariol, Italy
  • 2011 – Fifth place, World Cup, Calgary, Canada
  • 2007 – U.S. bronze medalist
  • 2006 – Eighth place in luge doubles, Olympic Winter Games, Torino, Italy
  • 2005 – Junior World Cup overall doubles champion
  • Three-time USA Luge start champion
  • Two-time Junior World champion

 

Matt Mortensen

SGT Matt Mortensen

SGT Matt Mortensen

Luge Doubles

Age: 28

Height/Weight: 6’0”, 187lbs

Hometown: Huntington Station, NY

MOS: 12R Interior Electrician

Home Unit: 1156 Engineer Company, Kingston, NY

Career Highlights:

  • 2013 – Team relay silver medalist, World Cup, Park City, Utah
  • 2013 – Team relay silver medalist, World Cup, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2013 – Sixth place, World Cup, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2012 – Seventh place, World Championships, Cesana Pariol, Italy
  • 2012 – U.S. champion
  • 2011 – Fifth place, World Cup, Calgary, Canada
  • 2010 – Fifth place, World Cup, Park City, Utah
  • 2008 – U.S. silver medalist, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2007 – U.S. bronze medalist, Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • 2005 – Junior World Cup champion
  • 2004 – Junior World Cup silver medalist
  • 2003 – Junior World Cup silver medalist
  • 2003 – U.S. junior champion
  • Three-time USA Luge start champion
  • Two-time defending national champion

 

William Tavares

SSG William Tavares

SSG William Tavares

Assistant Luge Coach

Age: 50

Hometown: Lake Placid, NY

MOS: 11B Infantryman – Management Training

Home Unit: Company B, 2-108th Infantry, New York

Career Highlights:

  • 2014 – U.S. Olympic Luge Assistant Coach
  • 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Assistant Coach
    • 2010 – Coached athletes to Olympic gold & bronze medals
    • 2006 – Coached athletes to Olympic silver medal
    • 2002 – Coached athletes to Olympic gold medal
    • 1999 – U.S. Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year
    • 1997-2014 U.S. National Team Coach
      • Coached athletes to more than 100 World Cup and World Championship medals
      • 1992 – Olympic Winter Games, Albertville, France; 9th place luge doubles

 

2014 Winter Games Luge Race Dates

Look for local television network coverage on these dates:

  • Saturday, Feb. 8 – Men’s Singles, runs 1 and 2
  • Sunday, Feb. 9 – Men’s Singles, runs 3 and 4
  • Monday, Feb. 10 – Women’s Singles, runs 1 and 2
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11 – Women’s Singles, runs 3 and 4
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12 – Doubles, runs 1 and 2
  • Thursday, Feb. 13 – Team Relay Competition
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