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Sochi Express: Luger Erin Hamlin slides onto Team USA train towards Olympics

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American Erin Hamlin qualified for her third Winter Olympics at the FIL World Cup luge event at her nemesis Whistler, British Columbia track.

Hamlin, seeking to avenge a disappointing 16th place at the Vancouver Olympics at this same venue, sledded to the fifth spot to seal her nomination on Team USA’s 250-athlete roster for the Sochi Olympics in February.

While this luge track's design has been altered from its dangerous Vancouver Games structure, Hamlin’s determination to punch a ticket to the Winter Games was unwavering during this quadrennial.

Racing to a two-run 1:13.803 clocking, Hamlin was within a mere half-second behind the German winner Natalie Geisenberger who notched her fourth straight World Cup finish (1:13.412).

On her home track, Canadian Alex Gough (1:13.545) broke through a German juggernaut to seize the silver, as Geisenberger’s countrywomen Anke Wischnewski (1:13.622) and Vancouver Olympics champion Tatyana Huefner 1:13.642 rounded out the top four spots.

Hamlin, who raced to a 12th place at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics, was relieved to land this top five placement – criteria that USA Luge has established for these upcoming Winter Games.

“I’m excited. I’ve been so close so many times this season. It was nice to finally come through and pull it off,” said Hamlin.

Teammates Kate Hansen (sixth, 1:13.851) and veteran Julia Clukey (tenth, 1:14.00.001) are knocking on the Team USA train door – hoping to improve their chances at the Park City, UT track next Friday on the next stop of this tour. Soon after this contest, USA Luge will officially select its 10-athlete roster of three men, three women, and two doubles pairs.

This stoked collective will then be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee who is expected to approve this inclusion on the “Sochi Express.”

Subscribe to all my articles during this exciting ramp-up to the Sochi Olympics!

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