Viessmann World Cup luge returns to Lake Placid Dec. 15-16

By Sandy Caligiore | Dec. 10, 2018, 12:16 p.m. (ET)

 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – After opening the Viessmann World Cup season in Europe and Canada, USA Luge finally returns to its Lake Placid home this weekend for the fourth series of the season at the Olympic Sports Complex.

The American team will look to extend their streak of World Cup medals. Emily Sweeney started with a comeback bronze medal two weeks ago at Whistler, B.C., before the relay team of Summer Britcher, Tucker West, Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman added a silver medal last Saturday in Calgary, Alberta.

The success of Mazdzer and Terdiman, after just three weeks of racing, is particularly noteworthy as the former is a throwback to the two-way football player. Their doubles results to date have been 10th, seventh and fifth prior to the relay silver medal. Mazdzer won Olympic silver – the first medal for a U.S. man – 10 months ago.

USA Luge will also call up the confidence from its recent successes at home. In 2015, U.S. women, led by Erin Hamlin, swept the podium with Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., and Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa., adding silver and bronze medals, respectively. In addition, both Mazdzer and West have won World Cup events on Mount Van Hoevenberg. There have also been medals in doubles, the team relay and sprint races.

“I love racing in Lake Placid,” said West, a two-time Olympian from Ridgefield, Conn. “I’ve raced there four times and have won four medals. Hopefully, we can continue that streak.” West started his race preparation on Monday with a trip to the San Diego Wind Tunnel to fine-tune his aerodynamic position. The team also tested race suit fabrics and sled set-ups.

Sweeney, who owns a home near team headquarters, is anxious to get the week underway. “I love this track and I love racing in Lake Placid,” she said.

Both West and Mazdzer, from Saranac Lake, N.Y., have three World Cup gold medals, and each has won in Lake Placid. Jonny Gustafson, of Massena, N.Y., will round out the U.S. men’s team. Gustafson had a career best seventh place in the opening sprint World Cup in Igls, Austria.

To achieve a podium result, the entire field will have to contend with Wolfgang Kindl. The Austrian has broken away from the pack just three weeks into the season. After warming up with a bronze medal at home, the speedy dynamo has reeled off three straight victories to take a 105-point World Cup advantage into Lake Placid. One of those chasing Kindl is Germany’s double Olympic champion Felix Loch, who captured a world title in Lake Placid in 2009.

The women’s division is headlined by Loch’s teammates. Sochi and Pyeongchang Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger started with three consecutive World Cup gold medals before “settling” for the silver last weekend in Calgary. Her teammate, Julia Taubitz, “suffered” through three straight silver medals behind Geisenberger, before finally tracking down the veteran in Calgary and collecting her first career win.

However, the women’s battle of Lake Placid will be loaded with anticipation for USA Luge fans, given the team’s success and knowledge of the track. In addition to Britcher and Sweeney, Raychel Germaine, of Roswell, Ga., was a career-best seventh at the Olympic Sports Complex two years ago, while Brittney Arndt, of Park City, Utah, has shown great speed here in training and junior races.

With the early-season progression of Mazdzer and Terdiman in doubles, will the home track enable them to step on the podium? Roadblocks could come from three German sleds that have been dominant for years. Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt have captured back-to-back Olympic gold medals; Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken are World Champions, Olympic bronze medalists, and between Sochi and Pyeongchang, were the most dominant doubles team; Robin Geuke and David Gamm would have been in South Korea had they raced for any other nation.

The Germans are serious about making their mark in Lake Placid: their spare-no-expense program sent the national team to Lake Placid last month for a week of training.

The U.S. contingent should get a boost from the appearance of Hamlin, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, 2018 U.S. flag bearer and two-time World Champion. With her hometown of Remsen, N.Y. expected to make the pilgrimage to Lake Placid, Hamlin will take her ceremonial send-off run on Saturday at high noon.

The weekend action will mark the return of Mazdzer in his first international race on home ice since his thrilling Olympic performance last February in Pyeongchang. Both Mazdzer and Hamlin will be feted on Friday night at 7 PM in a special ceremony in Mid’s Park on Main Street.

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, December 14

9:30 AM Nations Cup qualifying for men, women and doubles (unseeded athletes)

2:30 PM Training for seeded groups

7 PM at Mid’s Park in downtown Lake Placid, ceremony recognizing Chris Mazdzer and Erin Hamlin

 

Saturday, December 15

9 AM Men Run 1

10:35 AM Men Run 2

12:00 Erin Hamlin’s ceremonial last run 

12:15 PM Doubles Run 1

1:35 PM Doubles Run2 

2:35 PM Running of the Balls

 

Sunday, December 16

8:30 AM Women’s Run1

9:55 AM Women’s Run 2

12:00 PM Men, Doubles, Women Sprint

Following competition, awards at Medal Plaza outside Lamy Lodge

 

Where to get tickets: 
https://www.whiteface.com/events/viessmann-world-cup-luge

 

BROADCAST

All events live streamed on https://www.olympicchannel.com/ and on the Olympic Channel app

The Olympic Channel: Dec. 15, 8-9:30 PM ET Men’s and doubles competitions 

NBC Sports Network: December 16, 4-6 PM ET