Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself?
EH: My name is Erin Hamlin, I am from Remsen, NY and train out of Lake Placid,NY for the sport of luge.
MW: How did you become a Luger?
EH: I attended a USA Luge Slider Search event in the summer of ’99, which is a clinic hosted for kids to look for any potential in the sport. Rollerblade wheels are put on basic training sleds, kids are taught how to steer through an easy course set up on a road with cones, and a few physical tests are done. I was invited to attend a camp in Lake Placid to slide on ice and learn more about the sport, and from there put into the development program.
MW: What is Luge?
EH: Technically, the french word for sled. But it is a sliding sport, where we ride feet first down a track that is usually just under a mile long at speeds approaching 90mph. Often going completely blind to be as aerodynamic as possible, we aim to drive our sleds within an inch of an ideal (imaginary) line down the track..essentially the fastest way from point A to B while incorporating the pressures of curves to help gain speed. It is timed to the thousandth of a second so every tiny detail matters a great deal.
MW: What compositions have you won?
EH: I am a 5X National Champion and I won World Championships in 2009.
MW: Tell me about competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics?
EH: 2006 was a great experience. I was still a junior athlete so making the team was a huge surprise. I had zero expectations going in so it was just a great way to get the feel for big competition at a young age. I had a ton of fun, made some major mistakes but also had some great runs so overall it was a good experience.
MW: Tell me about competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics?
EH: This one was completely different, I went in as the reigning World Champion, it was the closest thing to a home Olympics I will ever have (being in Canada) and I was considered a medal contender. I had very high hopes and knew I could go fast on the track in Whistler. This all changed drastically when the start was lowered and unfortunately I didn’t adapt in the short amount of time we had. My results were very disappointing and I immediately started thinking ahead to Sochi and how I could rebound and come back four years later to redeem myself.
MW: Now your going to the 2014 Winter Olympics how did you qualify?
EH: I placed 5th in a World Cup in Whistler that solidified my spot on the 2014 team. Going into the season I had a pre-qualified spot as a result of my World Championships result from last season. I needed a top five to verify that qualification.
MW: Who are you looking most to compete with?
EH: The Germans are always the strongest competitors in this sport, so they are always the ones to compete with .They are the best and being up against them, and the times you are as good or better, you know that means you are the best in the world.
MW: What is USA record for wining Luge in the past Winter Olympics?
EH: We have never medaled in the singles disciplines in the Olympics. Doubles competitors have taken 4 medals ever (2 silver, 2 bronze). This year we have an additional event, the mixed team relay, where we can hopefully add to that medal count.
MW: What are your plans after the Winter Olympics?
EH: I will definitely go on some sort of vacation! It is always a long season and after the Olympics four years of training, racing, and stress kind of get relieved so it is always nice to decompress. I will be very happy to spend time with my family at home and enjoy the end of winter!
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
EH: Probably just thank you to everyone who has supported me for the past 14 years…it has been a great experience and I never imagined I would be competing in a third Olympic Games. I am so excited and honored to represent the USA and look forward to laying it all on the line to make everyone at home proud!