Skip to main content

Erin Hamlin 'pretty stoked' after another luge world title

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

When Erin Hamlin won her first world luge championship, someone in her bursting-with-pride hometown decided it would be fitting to name an ice cream sundae in her honor.

Memo to the residents of Remsen, New York: It's time for another tribute.

Hamlin is now a two-time world champion, after taking the women's sprint crown Friday on the track in Igls, Austria, just outside Innsbruck. It's the third world title in USA Luge history, the first in Europe, and the first gold for the Americans in a world championships race since Hamlin prevailed on her home track at Lake Placid in 2009.

''It's nice to be able to still come to a race, a big race, and be able to perform when it's needed,'' Hamlin said. ''Especially when I've been training well and I've been sliding well, to have that reflected in my results ... to race as well as you train, I'm happy.''

Hamlin prevailed in 30.074 seconds, a mere 0.009 seconds better than Switzerland's Martina Kocher. Germany's Tatjana Huefner was third, another 0.001 seconds back, and Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Connecticut was fourth.

The sprint is a race with a flying start, with the clock starting once sliders complete 100 meters and have built some speed. Hamlin has won World Cup sprint events in the past, but even after a strong week of training she was hardly expecting a gold medal Friday. She became the second woman to win golds eight years apart at a world championships, joining German legend Susi Erdmann.

''It was definitely a surprise,'' Hamlin said. ''Pretty stoked about it.''

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

There were some comforts of home for Hamlin, even half a world away.

Hamlin's parents, Ron and Eileen, have followed her all over the world for the better part of the last 20 years. They were there in Lake Placid when she won the world title in 2009, trackside in Russia when she got Olympic bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games - but never made their way to the track in Austria until this week.

Good timing, indeed.

''It's pretty awesome,'' Hamlin said. ''It's pretty cool. You only live once, make the most of it, and they totally have that mindset, 100 percent. I'm not going to be doing this forever, so they're taking advantage while they can.''

There was no all-night celebration planned; Hamlin still has more sliding to do this weekend, with the women's race Saturday and the team relay Sunday.

Knowing that she's going home with at least one medal - especially a gold one - removes the pressure for the rest of the weekend. And the realization that, at minimum, she'll be introduced as a two-time world champion going forward was quickly setting in Friday.

''A couple of people have brought it up and it's crazy - very crazy,'' Hamlin said. ''I've already gotten labels that I never thought I would. It's kind of the cherry on top, the icing on the cake. It's pretty cool.''