USA Luge moves into next phase of season

LAKE PLACID — As USA Luge concludes its first on-ice training camp of the season this week in Lillehammer, Norway, a series of three Norton Seeding Races are on tap in October at Whistler, Calgary and then Lake Placid.

The final event doubles as the annual Norton National Championships. All told, the three seeding races will determine the World Cup squad that will open the season in mid-November in Igls, Austria.

The first in the series will take place at Whistler on Oct. 13; the second event is scheduled in Calgary either Oct. 18 or 19; with the finale and Norton National Championships in Lake Placid on Oct. 28-29.

In order to be nominated for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, athletes must first qualify for the five World Cup meets that are scheduled in November and December. The last of those will occur in Lake Placid on December 15-16.

Sochi Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, is the only luge racer exempt from World Cup qualifying. She officially achieved that by scoring a World Championship singles silver medal last season.

The rest of her outstanding campaign featured a Sprint world title, a World Championship silver medal as the lead leg in the team relay, and a pair of World Cup victories in Park City, Utah, on her way to a fourth place overall World Cup finish.

The International Luge Federation’s World Cup quota is five men, four women and three doubles teams. USA Luge will fill all those spots. The team is traveling in October with five men, five women and three doubles teams. The Norton Seeding Races will eliminate one woman.

The seeding races are a requirement in the USA Luge Olympic Team Selection procedure.

All seeding competitions will be two heats each for the three disciplines, except the Lake Placid race will use the Olympic format of four heats for singles over the two days. Doubles will be a two-heat, one-day event.

Thereafter, the World Cup team will spend early November training on the Olympic track in Pyeongchang.

At the conclusion of the first five World Cups, 10 Olympic nominees will officially be named on the evening of Dec. 16 in a gala announcement at the Conference Center in Lake Placid.