California dreamin' on Sochi winter's day

Sun Feb 9, 2014 3:37am EST
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By Justin Palmer

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - For Californian surfing fanatic Kate Hansen, competing in luge is almost as good as riding the perfect wave. Almost - she is still a beach girl at heart.

The 21-year-old from Los Angeles will make her Olympic debut when the women's singles starts on Monday.

"I'm in the water whenever I can be. It's strangely very similar, surfing is like reading the wave. Every wave is different, just like every (luge) curve is different," she told Reuters.

"With sliding you want to get the most even line and it's kind of the same with surfing. It's all about reacting.

"The same line isn't going to work every time, just like the same wave isn't going to work every time. It's all about adjusting and making it as smooth possible."

Hansen, who secured a first World Cup win last month - the first American since 1997 to do so - thought her dreams of becoming an Olympian had been dashed when she fractured in her foot during team selection races in October.

Recalling her training run crash at her home track in Park City, Utah, the Brigham Young University student said: "I took a turn wrong and hit the hardest wall of my life. And it hurt so bad. I came out the other end crying.

"The dream was done for me. At least for a day. I just decided I was going to cry all day and when I woke up the next morning I was going to act like nothing had happened, and that's just what I did."   Continued...

Kate Hansen of the U.S. speeds down the track during the women's luge training at the Sanki sliding center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics near Sochi, February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer