USA Luge to let fans decide on helmet design

LAKE PLACID — The mantra of luge is to be fast and cool. Jon Wooten nailed it in 2014 when Erin Hamlin, in a Wooten-painted helmet, raced to the first Olympic singles medal in USA Luge history. The three-time Olympian was also the first female in American luge history to stand on an Olympic podium.

Fast for sure, and cool to get a medal at the Winter Games.

Now, Wooten has gone back to his canvass to work his magic for the fourth time, hoping more Americans will step onto the medal stand February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, sporting his creation with 2018 Olympic hardware beneath it.

Wooten, art director for Big Top Entertainment in Newport News, Virginia, has come up with two designs. In a social media-driven contest, USA Luge fans will pick the one that 10 American athletes will display in Pyeongchang nine months from now.

“The greatest thrill is knowing that every four years, the Olympics are held in different parts of the world, and I’m given the honor of designing and painting the helmets for the USA Luge Team,” Wooten said. “While each Olympics has its own particular challenges in preparation, my goal is to come up with a unique design that exceeds those of the previous Olympics. I achieve this by incorporating striking colors, bold shapes, and, of course, a patriotic theme.”

To cast your vote, “like” USA Luge on Facebook, follow the team on Twitter or log on to the team’s website and vote at

The contest will conclude at midnight on July 4. The helmets will be unveiled and presented to the 2018 Olympic team nominees in Lake Placid during a gala celebration to conclude the World Cup event on Dec. 16.