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Cohen takes another step at YOG

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Maddy Cohen, of Keene Valley, finished 14th as the sole U.S. competitor in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games women’s monobob competition Sunday on the all-natural track in St. Moritz.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Cohen said. “I feel proud, not (many) teenagers bobsled or get to compete in the Youth Olympic Games. I’m pretty proud of myself for being here.”

Cohen started sliding in the Lake Placid junior bobsled program, and learned how to drive a monobob during a driving school last spring. Cohen is currently a senior at Lake Placid High School, and she hopes to continue sliding while in college.

Cohen started the Youth Olympic Games qualification races with two 17th-place finishes in Lillehammer, Norway. It was her first monobob competition, and she only had a few weeks of training in the discipline.

“It was my first time racing, and the nerves really got to me, which just comes with the territory” Cohen said. 

Cohen missed the next races in Koenigssee, Germany, then came back strong in Lake Placid and Park City, Utah, by earning two silver and two bronze medals. She finished the series ranked third overall.

“I’m very happy with my season as it showed growth and improvement with my sport, and it led me to an overall third place standing,” Cohen said.

Cohen clocked identical push times of 6.62 seconds in Sunday’s competition for runs of 1:15.91 and 1:16.06. She finished 14th with a combined time of 2:31.97.

Georgeta Popescu from Romania was victorious with a two-run total of 2:26.84. Slovakia’s Viktoria Cernanska claimed the silver medal with an aggregate time of 2:27.35, and Germany’s Celine Harms earned bronze with a cumulative time of 2:27.36.

LUGE

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — The United States ended the 2020 Youth Olympic Games luge races Monday with a seventh-place finish in the team relay. The foursome of McKenna Mazlo, Matt Greiner and the doubles team of Maya Chan/Reannyn Weiler completed the long St. Moritz course in a time of 2 minutes, 59.179 seconds.

Russia captured the gold medal by 0.55 of a second over Germany, with Latvia another 0.33 of a second behind but good enough for the bronze medal.

“I’m very proud of the way our young athletes conducted themselves on and off the ice in their biggest competition to date,” said Jim Leahy, USA Luge CEO. “Coach Jon Owen had them well prepared and focused, and all seven of them gave us their best efforts. They absorbed everything about the YOG and interacted well with other athletes. The atmosphere of the YOG is tremendously different than Youth and Junior World Cups. No doubt this will serve them well when their time comes for the Winter Olympics. I also want to point out the enthusiasm of the families who attended. They were supportive and really got into the spirit of the event.”

Mazlo, of Souderton, Pennsylvania, was 15th in the earlier singles race, while Greiner, of Park City, Utah, took ninth in men’s singles. Chan, of Chicago, and Weiler, of Whitesboro, had the top U.S. result of the YOG when they finished fourth in women’s doubles. Teammates Hunter Harris, of East Fairfield, Vermont, was 15th in singles, and the men’s doubles team of Sam Day, of Wantagh, and Sam Eckert, of Wilmington, finished eighth. In addition, Eckert had the notable distinction of being invited to a special dinner by IOC President Thomas Bach.

Chan and Weiler were part of the historic IOC debut of this new women’s doubles category.

“With the success of women’s doubles in its first major introduction, we hope the IOC sees this new discipline as a great pathway to the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina,” Leahy said.

Ironically, the International Luge Federation has not included women’s doubles in its own Junior World Championships in two weeks.

The 2020 YOG, which ends Wednesday, Jan. 22, has welcomed 1,800 athletes to Lausanne and St. Moritz, using the tony resort’s naturally-built sliding track for luge, bobsled and skeleton.