2014 Sochi Olympics: Erin Hamlin Wins Bronze in Women's Luge

Erin Hamlin becomes the first American to win an Olympic medal in singles luge competition. 

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports wrote on Feb. 11 Hamlin’s feat broke a 50-year drought for the United States: 

“Erin Hamin accomplished something Tuesday night no other U.S. athlete has done in a half century of trying: She ended the United States’ deep freeze in the singles luge. 

“Hamlin captured the bronze medal and broke a 50-year U.S. streak with no medals in the event — an 0-for-forever hole that has existed since the luge was introduced as a sport in the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games. Including the three medals awarded in the men’s event on Sunday, the U.S. men’s and women’s programs had failed in 81 medal opportunities leading up to Tuesday. 

“After finishing 12th in the 2006 Turin Games and 16h in Vancouver in 2010, Hamlin surfaced as a serious medal threat in Sochi. She posted competitive training times heading into her event, which has essentially been owned by Germany since its inclusion in the Games. 

“Of the 81 medals awarded in singles luge heading into Tuesday night, 54 had been won by Germany (East, West and unified). That total added two more when Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner took gold and silver, just ahead of Hamlin.”

Geisenberger’s final time was 3 minutes and 19.768 seconds, edging out Huefner by 1.139 seconds. Hamlin trailed the silver medalist by just 0.236 seconds, enough to get past fourth placer Alex Gough of Canada, whom she was ahead of by 0.433 seconds, per the same update. 

Hamlin told Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today Sports on Feb. 11 she was determined to do better in Sochi. Now that she has won a medal for the United States, she hopes it will inspire more Americans to become more involved in ths sport. 

“I’m stoked. Who knew? I definitely pictured it. It was a big goal of mine. After (the 2010 Games) I was really disappointed, and I knew that’s not how I wanted my Olympic legacy to end. It was super motivating.

“Luge isn’t the biggest sport at home. Hopefully this gives it a boost. I’m happy to pave the way to the future. Hopefully, it means we get a little more attention, some more funding so we can spread the numbers and get a lot more kids involved and going forward just get stronger.”

Her father, Ron Hamlin, couldn’t be prouder. He said his daughter is indeed a determined individual, per espnW.com’s Wayne Drehs. 

“She’s a determined girl. She likes competition and she doesn’t like to fail. So when it doesn’t go her way, she’s going to keep fighting, keep pushing.”

USA Luge program director Mark Grimmette, who retired from the sport after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, said it was hard work from both Hamlin and the organization which lead to this moment, per Zilgitt. 

“Lots of hard work and a lot of planning over the past four years. Lots of elements had to come together. One is having a good sled. That’s one important step. 

“What can’t be understated is how hard she works and how hard the coaching staff has worked with her to help make this hapen.”

In the end, Geisenberger told The Associated Press she’s very happy for Hamlin. 

“Erin is such a great girl. She’s always friendly, always smiling, always saying hello. It’s very cool and for the USA, it’s important to have success in luge after so many difficult years. I’m so happy for her.” 

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