Who is Erin Hamlin?
Born Nov. 19, 1986 in New Hartford, New York. Growing up, Hamlin was passionate about gymnastics. She discovered luge at age 12 through the USA Luge Slider Search because the program was sponsored by Verizon, where her father, Ronald, worked as an engineer.
Hamlin was so scared during her first run down the track that she does not even remember it. She quickly overcame her fear, and by the time she was in high school, moved Lake Placid to train full-time.
Hamlin claimed the bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was a surprise, considering she had failed to make a podium in either of the two World Cup seasons leading up to the Sochi Games. She became the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic singles luge medal in the 50 years since the sport made its Olympic debut.
2009 World Championships. Racing on her home track in Lake Placid, Hamlin won the gold medal. She became the first U.S. woman to win a luge world championship, and the first non-German since 1993. She also snapped a 99-race winning streak by German women in World Cup, world championship and Olympic competitions.
Hamlin always has a loud cheering section. Her brothers, Ryan and Sean, are known for wearing body paint or onesies to races.
She has a charm necklace in the shape of a luge sled that she wears when she races. It was a gift from a family friend after Worlds in 2009.
For years, Hamlin wore the same pair of socks to every race. When they finally wore out, Hamlin says, “It was actually a big moment for me to realize that no matter what I slide or race in, I can succeed. It went from a superstition to me gaining the confidence to be great in any situation.”
She also makes sure to put on her right glove first. She started doing that because it was easier, but now it is a part of her routine.
Fellow U.S. luger Tucker West on Hamlin: “She is a great racer, especially in stressful situations. She seems to do well in all of the big races.”
2014: Bronze medal
2010: No medals
2006: No medals
Off the ice
Hamlin’s family lives in Remsen, N.Y. When she returns home, she often trains in a barn on the 75-acre property. She also gets to see her dog, cat and three horses: Taz, Kyria, and Gemini.
She enjoys outdoor activities, from biking to horseback riding to skiing when the luge season ends. She also plays in women’s soccer league. She has even done yoga on a stand-up paddle board.
She loves to bake. Her goal is eventually own a bakery with her cousin.