The U.S. luge team will bring a blend of youth and experience to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Currently, there are four men vying for three singles spots at the Sochi Games. Chris Mazdzer will look to improve from his 13th-place finish in Vancouver, should he qualify. Taylor Morris, Aidan Kelly and Tucker West also have their eyes set on Sochi.
On the women’s side, 2009 world champion Erin Hamlin and 2012 national champion Julia Clukey have Olympic experience and will strive for one of the three women’s slots along with Emily Sweeney, Kate Hansen and Summer Britcher.
The U.S. doubles field will likely have three sleds vying for two Olympic start positions. Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman have been ranked in the World Cup top 10 since becoming a team in 2010. Niccum, a two-time Olympian, underwent his second back surgery in early 2012, and returned to on-ice training in December.
Also ranked in the World Cup standings is the rising duo of Matt Mortensen and 2006 Olympian Preston Griffall, who have combined for fifth- and sixth-place World Cup finishes. Newcomers Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk are now in their first full season of World Cup racing, and will enter the Olympic mix as they continue to accumulate experience at the elite level.
The four U.S. members who will compete in the Olympic relay event – featuring one men’s single, one women’s single and one doubles pair – will be selected from the 10-member squad.
Luge will be contested at the Sliding Center Sanki during the Sochi Games. The state-of-the-art track is built at the Alpika Service Mountain Ski Resort, with its track finishing area located at Rzhanaya Polyana.
The International Luge Federation will use the overall World Cup rankings at the end of December to fill quota spots (110 total) for the Sochi Games. Each nation may have up to 10 athletes on their team, including three men’s singles, three women’s singles and two sets of doubles. To earn a spot for the U.S., athletes must rank in the top 37 for men, top 27 for women or top 17 for doubles.
Selection is based on 2013 World Cup performances, per criteria established by USA Luge. U.S. athletes are ranked based on how well they perform in World Cup action. More weight is given to a high finish in each individual race over the mere accumulation of points over the full slate of races. If slots remain after the 2013 World Cup events, or if ties exist that cause the number of tied individuals to exceed the number of remaining slots, then race-offs may ensue for the remaining positions.
The U.S. relay will be comprised of the athlete with the fastest men’s singles run, the athlete with the fastest women’s singles run and the team with the fastest doubles run during Olympic competition. The relay event is the last of the four luge events on the Olympic schedule.
|Feb. 8-9||World Cup||Lake Placid, N.Y.|
|Feb. 9||Team Relay||Lake Placid, N.Y.|
|Feb. 23-24||World Cup||Sochi, Russia|
|Feb. 24||Team Relay||Sochi, Russia|
|September-November||Team selection races||TBD|
|December||End of qualification period|