Who is Tucker West?
Born June 15, 1995 in Danbury, Connecticut. He watched luge on television for the first time during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Intrigued, he started sledding in his backyard. When that wasn’t fast enough, his father, Brett, iced the hill with a garden hose. When even that wasn’t fast enough, Brett agreed to start constructing a luge track in their backyard. It grew to be more than 700 feet long. Brett eventually installed an automatic icing system, speakers and lights for nighttime rides.
In December 2014, West became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup race since 1997. During the 2016-2017 season, he won two more World Cup races, tied for the lead in Olympic-distance competitions.
When West was 9, he received a visit from Gordy Sheer, the 1998 Olympic doubles silver medalist who is now USA Luge’s Marketing Director. Sheer wanted to see West’s backyard luge track for himself.
“When I heard about this lunatic in Connecticut who built a luge track in his backyard,” Sheer said, “I got out there as fast as I could.”
Impressed, Sheer decided to invite West to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. West was quickly fell in love with the sport when he saw lugers reach speeds as high as 90 mph in person.
At the 2014 Olympics, West became the youngest U.S. Olympic luger ever at the age of 18.
West is known for his fast starts. He clocked the fastest start during a 2017 World Cup race on the 2018 Olympic course in PyeongChang.
He has a lucky pair of underwear and socks for important races.
Chris Mazdzer, a 2010 and 2014 Olympian, has witnessed West’s improvement since the Sochi Games.
“He is much better than he was four years ago,” Mazdzer said. “His start is better, he has more experience, he makes better decisions down the track and he has a little more understanding of the sled.”
2014: No medal
Off the ice
During the 2014 Olympics, West’s father appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” and encouraged girls to reach out to his “shy” and “very single” son. The plea worked, and West received thousands of messages on social media with the hashtag #TeamTucker. Several included prom invitations and even marriage proposals. But West is now dating a girl, Raychel Germaine, who he met when he was 13. Germaine is also a luge athlete.
West grew up playing baseball, basketball and football, but it was not until he discovered luge that he developed a true passion for sports. He hopes his story will inspire others to give niche sports a try. “I think there’s a sport out there for everyone,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding it.”
He has a 150-pound English mastiff named Sochi. Sochi joined the West family just before the 2014 Winter Olympics.