Erin Hamlin 5th place at midway point of singles race, just .045 of a second from bronze medal in Olympic luge race

By Sandy Caligiore | Feb. 12, 2018, 11:50 a.m. (ET)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - Team USA’s Erin Hamlin, like teammate Chris Mazdzer two nights ago, put herself within reach of the podium Monday night with two of four heats of Olympic luge competition complete at the Alpensia Sliding Centre.

“I’m happy,” the Remsen, N.Y. native and four-time Olympian told NBC following her two runs. “Consistency is what I’m looking for. So far, so good.”

Natalie Geisenberger of Germany is half way to repeating as Olympic champion. While the women’s event has been less volatile than the men’s singles, which saw all of the pre-race favorites make mistakes in curve nine, the world’s newest track is prone to providing surprises that is making these Olympic races some of the most exciting in recent memory.

During the six training runs in advance of the race, finding consistency was a challenge for many of the top contenders in the field.

At the moment, however, the standings show many familiar faces at the top.  Geisenberger’s two run combined time of one minute, 32.454 seconds leads her German teammate Dajana Eitberger who posted a pair of trips totaling 1:32.574. She had the second quickest second heat to pull her into medal contention. Alex Gough remains the best hope for Canada’s first-ever Olympic medal, currently ranked third in 1:32.645. Teammate Kim McRae was fourth after one leg but fell back to sixth place.

Between Gough and Hamlin lies Germany’s Tatjana Heufner, the three-time Olympic medalist.

Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa., had a tough time negotiating curve nine during her first trip down the 3,943-foot women’s luge course, but bounced back with a track record of 46.132. She currently sits in ninth place with a combined 1:32.961.

“I really wanted to come back from that first run,” said the five-time World Cup winner and two-time Olympian. “I’m a little disappointed I messed up the first run, but I knew there was nothing I would have done differently so I just made a different plan for driving. But I went at it with the same mental approach, the same confidence and I’m really happy with where it ended up.”

Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Conn. suffered the wrath of curve nine on her first run, scrubbing off a considerable amount of time. Her second trip through the tricky combination was clean, but she encountered further problems later in the run. She sits in 15th with a time of 1:33.555.

Racing resumes tomorrow at 7:30 PM Pyeongchang time / 5:30 AM ET, followed by the doubles event on Wednesday night and the team relay Thursday night.