LILLLEHAMMER, Norway – Four young members of USA Luge concluded their competitive schedules Tuesday at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lillehammer, finishing 10th in the team relay.
The group that raced on the 1994 Olympic track was comprised of singles athletes Ashley Farquharson, of Park City, Utah and Justin Taylor, of Newark, Del., with the doubles team of Duncan Biles, of Herriman, Utah and Alanson Owen, also of Park City.
Owen participated in the YOG with Olympic pedigree as his father, Jon Owen, is a 1988 Olympian and the national organization’s western coordinator. Alanson’s mother, Zianibeth Shattuck-Owen, was an Olympic alternate here in 1994.
"I think the Lillehammer Youth Olympics was a fantastic experience for our four U.S. athletes,” said American coach Fred Zimny, who together with three-time Olympian Tony Benshoof, led the squad.
Looking around the venues and the event ambiance, the YOG was a huge step up in appearance for these athletes.
“It really gave them a taste of what the Olympic Games are all about with all the preparation, ceremony, logistics and camaraderie with other athletes. It also taught them a lot about competing at the highest level of their sport and the pressures that come along with it.”
The United States luge racers qualified in the November and December Junior World Cup race period, and this season, some were traveling and competing internationally for the first time.
Farquharson did not complete her first of two runs in the YOG women’s singles. She was headed to the top 10 at that point before encountering problems.
Taylor finished 15th; Biles and Owen took eighth in doubles; and the group combined for a 10th place result in the team relay that was conducted in the Olympic format with touch pad and reaction start.
"We knew coming in that we had a young and internationally inexperienced team so we calibrated our expectations,” continued Zimny. “Our hope was, of course, to have the highest finishes possible, but more so, to set the
ground work for future races and podium results."
The U.S. team will remain in Norway to enjoy the remaining days of the YOG, participate in the Closing Ceremony and then return to Lake Placid for the Norton Youth National Championships on February 27-28.