Luge World Cup returns to Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID — The 2018 Olympic Winter Games are in the rear-view mirror and now the world’s best luge athletes begin focusing on the Beijing, China Winter Games just four years away.

The journey toward those Games begins with the 2018-19 World Cup series which opens in late-November and makes nine stops, through six countries, including Dec. 15-16 in Lake Placid.

“We’re excited to have World Cup luge racing return to Lake Placid for a fourth consecutive winter,” said New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Mike Pratt. “It’s the track staff’s commitment to offering the best track and condition possible that continue to make the track at Mount Van Hoevenberg a destination for these world-class athletes and the sport of luge.” 

The U.S. luge team looks to shine on its home track. Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, has two medals in the past two seasons racing in Lake Placid, while his teammate, Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, will race for the first time internationally on the 1-mile long course since winning the men’s singles Olympic luge silver medal, in February, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Although 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, has retired from the U.S. team, the women’s squad still looks strong as her 2018 Olympic teammates, Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Connecticut, and Summer Britcher begin building momentum toward the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

“We are once again looking forward to partnering with the FIL and ORDA for the 2018 Viessmann World Cup in Lake Placid. Competing on home ice is something we highly anticipate. Having events here is very important for the growth of our sport in the U.S. and for our team’s visibility,” said USA Luge president/CEO Jim Leahy. “We know that from the racing conditions at the venue to the activities that make for a great event, ORDA will create a memorable experience for our athletes and fans. Thanks to the FIL for continuing to have faith in our organizations.”

Team USA will face a formidable international lineup of sliders to include Germany’s two-time women’s singles Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger and her teammates, Dajana Eitberger, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist, Tatjana Huefner, a three-time Olympic medalist and Felix Loch, a two-time men’s singles Olympic champion. The reigning men’s singles Olympic champion, David Gleirscher, from Austria, is also expected to compete. Canada, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Russia should also field strong teams.

Racing will be held in both men and women’s singles, doubles and sprint format.

The fourth edition of the Running of the Balls will also be held Saturday, Dec. 15, following the last run of the doubles’ competition at approximately 3 p.m. The Running of the Balls is a fundraiser for USA Luge, which sees more than 1,000 lacrosse balls released down the one-mile track at the Olympic Sports Complex.

The NBC family of networks will provide coverage of the Lake Placid events. NBC Sports Network will provide two hours of coverage on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. The Olympic Channel will also air coverage of the race, with the complete schedule to be announced in the fall.