It was the epilogue they’d hoped for: Summer Britcher, Tucker West, Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman closed out their 2019-20 season at the FIL Luge World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany with a silver medal in the team relay.
The medal, won in the final event of the final world cup of the season, comes two weeks after the team’s bronze-medal performance at the World Championships in Sochi, Russia, and a week after U.S. athletes withdrew from the world cup in Winterberg, Germany, in protest of poor track conditions.
In an Instagram post, two-time Olympian Britcher lambasted competition organizers and the International Luge Federation for the conditions in Winterberg, saying she did not believe the track had been “prepared to a world cup standard.” Her comments led to a meeting this week where she, FIL Athletes representative Mazdzer and FIL officials discussed the matter.
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There were no such troubles in Koenigssee, where combined U.S. efforts led to a time of 2 minutes, 43:019 seconds, more than a second better than the time that put them on the world podium. The Americans were 0.8 seconds behind a powerhouse German team led by impact newcomer Anna Berreiter. The Russian sled, rallying behind Viktoriia Demchenko, ended with bronze.
The result felt especially meaningful for Britcher, who missed a bronze medal in the women’s event by 0.013 of a second Saturday.
“We’re always gunning for those podium finishes, but I’m really proud of my approach to the final race,” she said after the race Saturday. “I wanted to end on a good note, a positive note, and have a fun time.”
On Sunday, she got it.
Blythe Lawrence has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @rockergymnastix.