Remsen native first American to medal in singles luge

Feb 11, 2014

Mohawk Valley native Erin Hamlin has become the first American to win an Olympic medal in singles luge.

Hamlin slid to a third place finish and a bronze medal today at the winter games in Sochi, Russia. 

It was her third time completing in the Olympics. She was world champion in 2009, but she had finished out of the top 10 at the last two games.

The 27-year-old is from Remsen, N.Y., about 20 miles north of Utica.

Erin Hamlin
Erin Hamlin
Credit Team USA / via Flickr

"I'm sure everyone at home is going crazy," Hamlin told the Associated Press, "and I can't wait to get home to see them."

Here's how the AP summed up Hamlin's performance:

Hamlin finished third, grabbing the first medal for any American singles luge athlete at the Olympics, 50 years after luge first appeared at the games. So in the sport's golden anniversary as part of the Olympics, Hamlin came up with bronze, a feat sure to go down as one of the great moments in USA Luge history.

U.S. individual sliders had been fourth on three occasions at the Olympics, but never any better. So every four years, the same question gets asked — when will an American break through?

Hamlin, a native of Remsen, N.Y., put an end to that.

Hamlin finished 0.236 seconds behind Tatjana Huefner in the race for silver, but held off Canada's Alex Gough by 0.433 seconds for the final spot on the podium. It was the fifth Olympic medal for USA Luge, the first four — two silvers and two bronzes — having come in doubles races.

When Hamlin crossed the line, that medal finally clinched, she threw her arms skyward, then covered her face briefly with her hands. U.S. coach Mark Grimmette — a doubles medalist for the Americans — raced over to offer congratulations, and men's slider Chris Mazdzer reached down from the bleachers to hand Hamlin the U.S. flag.

"It's amazing," Hamlin said. "It's surreal, really."