Biggest cheers in Lake Placid for retired U.S. luger Hamlin


LAKE PLACID (AP) — The German doubles team of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken walked off the track at Mount Van Hoevenberg as World Cup race winners, again.

Russia’s Roman Repilov won the men’s race, again.

And the day’s biggest cheers went to Remsen native Erin Hamlin, again.

Eggert and Benecken won a World Cup race on the Lake Placid track for the fifth consecutive year on Dec. 15, and Repilov won at Mount Van Hoevenberg for the second straight season.

But Hamlin stole the show on the track where she dominated for nearly two decades, taking the farewell run of her career and cementing her retirement.

Hamlin served as a forerunner before the doubles race, wearing her distinctive stars-and-stripes helmet and donning a racing bib for the final time.

Hamlin, who won the first of her two world championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg in 2009 and went on to become the first American to win a singles luge medal at the Olympics when she took bronze at the Sochi Games in 2014, officially left the competitive circuit at the end of last season.

Eggert and Benecken continued their dominance in Lake Placid by opening up a big lead after the first heat and holding on for another gold, their second of the season and good enough to put them into the World Cup overall doubles points lead. German teammates Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt were second, and the Austrian sled of Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller took the bronze.

Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman, the lone U.S. doubles sled this season, were sixth.

“We’re creeping forward and that’s awesome,” Mazdzer said.

Repilov posted the fastest time in both heats on his way to the victory in the men’s race. Johannes Ludwig of Germany took second and Austria’s Reinhard Egger was third.

Mazdzer, who is competing in both singles and doubles, was fourth on his home track — missing a medal by 0.04 seconds.

Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl, who entered the day as the World Cup men’s leader, was disqualified after the first run because his sled was overweight. Kindl won three of the season’s first four men’s races, but is almost certain to lose his World Cup points lead on Sunday because he will not be eligible for the sprint race.

On Dec. 16, Mazdzer — the busiest slider on the planet this winter, as he competes as both a singles and doubles entrant for USA Luge on the World Cup circuit — teamed with Jayson Terdiman for a silver medal in the doubles sprint race for one of two medals won by the Americans at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Summer Britcher grabbed a silver in the women’s sprint for the U.S. as well, making her the lone non-German woman to medal on the weekend. She pumped her fist in delight on the medal podium when the result was final, capping a strong weekend for USA Luge.

“There’s only one spot to go up from here,” Terdiman said.

Germany swept the women’s singles race earlier Sunday, with Dajana Eitberger posting the fastest times in both heats on her way to the gold. Natalie Geisenberger was second and Julia Taubitz was third, with that trio holding off three USA Luge sliders for the medal spots. Emily Sweeney was fourth for the U.S., Britcher was fifth and Brittney Arndt was sixth.

The same six women took the top six spots in the women’s sprint, albeit in a different order. Geisenberger won for her 47th career World Cup victory, extending her series record, with Britcher getting the silver and Taubitz taking another bronze.

Sweeney, still working her way back to top form after a frightening crash at the Pyeongchang Olympics earlier this year left her with fractures in her neck and back, was fourth in the sprint as well.

Russia’s Roman Repilov got his second gold of the weekend by winning the men’s sprint, followed by countryman Semen Pavlichenko in second and Germany’s Johannes Ludwig in the third.

Germany won the doubles sprint, with that victory going to Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken — followed by the Mazdzer-Terdiman sled in second, and Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith in third.


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