One week after Tucker West won his second-career luge world cup gold medal, he added a third to his collection with a victory Saturday night at the Whistler Sliding Center in Whistler, British Columbia, for his first world cup win outside his home track of Lake Placid, New York.
West blistered through one of the fastest tracks in the world, rewriting the course record with his time of 50.109 seconds. The race was held in a modified format when a snowstorm delayed transport of the sleds from last week’s race in Lake Placid. Organizers compressed the program into a one-run format, ramping up the pressure on the racers.
The 21-year-old responded in champion fashion, laying down a run that withstood repeated challenges. Two-time world bronze medalist Wolfgang Kindl of Austria took the silver medal in 50.153 seconds, while Germany’s Andi Langenhan, who won the 2013 world championship silver on the Whistler track, claimed bronze in 50.243. The top 10 sleds posted times that would have surpassed the old track record.
With the win, West moves into eighth in the overall world cup standings with 200 points, 60 behind the leader, two-time reigning Olympic champion Felix Loch of Germany. Teammate Chris Mazdzer tumbled to 12th in the standings after bouncing off the wall twice just out of the start gate, leaving him in 31st.
West’s back-to-back victories are the first by an American men’s luger since Mazdzer won consecutive golds at Lake Placid and Park City, Utah, in the second and third races last season.
Although they didn’t earn a podium finish, the U.S. women enjoyed a strong showing, with three sleds in the top 10. Emily Sweeney led the way, placing fourth in 38.940 seconds, 0.09 away from a medal. Erin Hamlin finished sixth in 38.990, while Raychel Germaine was 10th with her 39.076.
The world cup continues Dec. 16-17 in Park City. After a brief holiday break, it will resume Jan. 5-6 in Königssee, Germany.