One year away from the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Team USA firmly established itself as a key player on the luge landscape by winning the silver medal in Sunday’s team relay at the 47th FIL World Luge Championships in Igls, Austria.
Coupled with Erin Hamlin’s gold in Friday’s sprint race and her silver Saturday in women’s singles, the U.S. enjoyed its best-ever showing by garnering three medals at worlds. The team’s total time of 2:08.66 was only 0.19 seconds behind Germany, which continued its dominance with its seventh straight gold, posting a time of 2:08.474. Russia claimed bronze in 2:08.984.
The silver is Team USA’s first worlds team relay podium, which was added to the championship program in 2008.
Hamlin got the ball rolling Sunday, spotting the team to third place before handing off to Tucker West. Although West has two world cup gold medals under his belt this season, he had to come back from lackluster performances in sprints and singles earlier in the weekend. Bouncing back, he logged the fastest time among the men and moved Team USA into second ahead of the Russians. It then fell to Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman to deliver a solid run to hold on to silver, and they did just that, posting the second-fastest doubles time to secure the podium spot.
The worlds medal continues a strong season in team relay with two podiums in three world cup races thus far, a promising sign for the three February events on the schedule. The world championships also offered hints that the European dominance is the sport is beginning to weaken as seven different nations earned medals and four of the top five women’s finishers were North American.