Erin Hamlin wins bronze in first luge race of season

By ANDREW DONOVAN

IGLS, AUSTRIA (WKTV) - Remsen-native Erin Hamlin, the defending world champion and two-time Olympian began the 2011 World Cup luge season Saturday where she left off last season, scoring a bronze.

“It was a gorgeous day today, but colder and the track was a lot faster than training, although nothing too drastic,” stated Hamlin. “This was a good start to the season for me and for the new coaching staff,” stated Hamlin, who turned 24 one week ago. “I would like to maintain this level of performance for the upcoming races.”

Hamlin tallied three World Cup bronze medals and placed fourth in the 2010 overall standings.

“The work I did over the summer definitely paid off,” she continued. “I’m stronger at the start, and compared to the field, I was much closer.” Her lone bobbles came in the start curve. “In the exits, I had to thread the needle.”

Germany took the gold as 2010 Olympic champion Tatyana Huefner took a .14 of a second advantage in the first heat over teammate and 2010 Olympic bronze medal winner Natalie Geissenberger.

Geissenberger totaled 1:19.802; Hamlin 1:19.974; Walden 1:20.091. Julia Clukey posted 1:20.399; Sweeney’s time was 1:22.584.

German women have been undefeated in World Cup racing since 1997, and they have captured every world and Olympic title in the span, other than Hamlin’s sterling effort in Lake Placid two seasons ago.

The remainder of the Igls program will conclude Sunday with men’s singles and team relay events. The latter competition is being examined by the International Olympic Committee for potential inclusion into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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