Kate Hansen slides into victory at USA Luge National Championship

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BYU student Kate Hansen qualified herself as a candidate for the third spot on the U.S. Olympic women’s luge team next year in Sochi, Russia after a big win at this year’s national championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Hansen has not been able to attend school during the regular school year for the past few years because she has been training to become an Olympian. Finally, it appears that her hard work and dedication to the sport she loves is paying off.

Kate Hansen paddles down the ice during a luge competition. (Photo courtesy Tony Benshoof)
Kate Hansen paddles down the ice during a luge competition. Hansen recently won the women’s national championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Photo courtesy Tony Benshoof)

Hansen’s game-changing race was held on Oct. 13 at the Mount Van Hoevenberg track in Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

It was a big win for Hansen, and registers her as a contender for the Olympic team. Hansen beat the two most-accomplished sliders on the U.S. women’s luge team on her way to the national title.

Hansen told the Daily Universe in a previous article, “I love my team and we really do get along, but once that fourth year comes around everything changes. … You want your friends to succeed, but obviously not if they are faster than you are.”

Hansen posted the best times in both of her races, and posted a combined time of 1 minute, 30.136 seconds in the two runs. The next closest competitors were Julie Clukey,  0.19 seconds behind Hansen, and Erin Hamlin, 0.25 seconds behind. Yes, timing comes down to thousandths of a second in the sport of luge racing.

This winter, Hansen, a tnative of La Canada, Calif., will be competing against her fellow teammates for a spot on the Olympic team leading up to Christmas, when her fate of whether or not she will be on the women’s Olympic luge team will be revealed. Of the seven female athletes on the USA Luge Team, only three get the opportunity to represent America in the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

In an interview with NBC Sports, Hansen said, “Once we get on tour and start traveling, things will definitely get real. But as for now, this is our first race of many. I think all of us are trying to stay focused, day-by-day, and not let ourselves get too excited for this because that’s when things can go downhill.”

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