Kate Hansen takes first U.S. women’s luge World Cup win since 1997
Jan 25, 11:00am EST
Kate Hansensnapped a 17-year drought for American women lugers, winning the World Cup finale in Sigulda, Latvia, on Saturday.
Hansen, 21, beat a field lacking the top three Germans with a two-run time of 1 minute, 23.976 seconds. She edged Canadian Alex Goughby .076. Russian Natalia Khoreva was third, followed by American Erin Hamlin.
Hansen, set to make her Olympic debut in Sochi, made the World Cup podium for the first time in her young career. It marked the biggest international victory for a U.S. luger since Erin Hamlin‘s World Championship in 2009.
“Of course it’s a great surprise for me,” Hansen said, according to The Associated Press. “I’ve never dreamed of winning the event.”
Embedded owg_slideshow: The U.S. Olympic luge team
The last U.S. woman to win a World Cup race was Cammy Myler in November 1997, also in Sigulda.
What a bookend to the World Cup season it was for Hansen. She had the fastest run in the first heat of the first World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, in November, but was 22nd fastest in the second run to tumble to 12th place.
The women’s luge competition in Sochi is Feb. 10-11.
“I don’t know if the pressure with regard to the upcoming Olympic Games will be greater now,” Hansen said, according to the AP. “It’s a good question. But we’ll see.”
Embedded owg_slideshow: Luge: Meet the United States' Olympic competition