Hamlin delivers at last for U.S., erases Vancouver memories

Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:55pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Erin Hamlin was already fast-forwarding to Sochi four years ago before her luge had stopped sliding at Whistler.

Her medal hopes at the Vancouver Olympics disappeared almost immediately after a huge mistake in her first run but after the tears had dried the 2009 world champion vowed to make amends.

On Tuesday at the Sanki Sliding Centre she did just that, becoming the first American to win an Olympic luge singles medal when she slid to the bronze.

"It was definitely a big goal of mine," Hamlin, who was 16th in Vancouver after a costly first-run mistake, told reporters.

"After Whistler I knew that was not how I wanted my Olympic legacy to end, I guess you could say, so it was super-motivating. After that, even before the race was over and I knew I was well back, I thought 'right in four years I'm coming back strong because that's not how I wanted it to'"

Hamlin finished behind runaway winner Natalie Geisenberger and fellow German Tatjana Huefner and considering German dominance of the Olympic women's luge events she could be excused for treating third as if it were a victory.

"It's surreal, I had four great runs," she said. "I came here with no expectations and this is beyond what I imagined.

"When I went into that third-from-last-curve I thought to myself 'I think I just did it.'   Continued...

Third-placed Erin Hamlin of the U.S. celebrates after the women's singles luge event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann