Cougar luge star makes final preparations for Sochi

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Many students are missing class due to illness or poor traveling weather. Kate Hansen on the other hand will miss yet another semester to compete in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Hansen, who has taken breaks from school the past few years in order to focus on training, is one of three female athletes to represent the U.S. in the Winter Olympics on the U.S. luge team currently training in Germany in final preparation for the games.

Kate Hansen of the U.S. speeds  during the first run of the women's luge World Cup race in Oberhof, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Courtesy AP Photo/Jens Meyer.
Kate Hansen of the U.S. speeds during the first run of the women’s luge World Cup race in Oberhof, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Courtesy AP Photo/Jens Meyer.

“I have been in Germany for about two weeks,” wrote Hansen, who has been making her way through Europe with the rest of her team. In an email, she said, “the reason we come all the way out here is because it is where most of our World Cup circuit takes place. There are about nine tracks in Europe and four in North America.”

The team practices almost half of the year in several countries, often the case for Olympic athletes.

“Usually, every year, we are gone from October to March traveling through Germany, Austria, Norway and Russia,” Hansen said. “Before Christmas, I was gone for two and a half months. I feel like I never leave.”

Preparing for the Olympics has not been easy, with Hansen giving up a few things many can’t seem to go without.

“I decided to eat as healthy as possible with almost all veggies and no desserts or soda,” Hansen said. “It helped tremendously with training. In fact, weirdly enough, I don’t really enjoy desserts or sweets anymore.”

Besides following a strict diet, Hansen has also chosen to set herself apart from other competitors by training on her own in preparation for Sochi.

“We have a trainer that many of us work with out at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Personally, I choose to work with the trainers at BYU,” Hansen said. “I decided to go out on my own because I knew it would be better to work with someone one on one. The trainers have been really helpful, and it worked out well.”

Aside from the shared goal among all Olympians of qualifying for a medal, Hansen simply hopes to perform mistake-free.

“To be honest, my only real goal is to not make a fool out of myself in Sochi,” she said. “I think that should be number one, but if I’m really going for it, I would really love to push for a top-ten finish. If I am on my game and the stars align just right, I might have a pretty good shot.”

The women’s luge event begins Feb. 10 at 6:45 P.M. local time, 7:45 A.M. MST and the medal ceremony will be the following day.

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