Lillehammer, Norway was the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics and to this day the lovely Nordic town continues to host winter sporting events. Recently, Lillehammer was site of Luge Nations and World Cup racing, which included the World Financial Group-sponsored USA Luge team for their last meet before Christmas.
In the men’s Nations Cup race, WFG-adopted athlete Bengt Walden finished fifth with a time of 50.656 seconds, only 0.339 seconds off first place. Chris Mazdzer finished in 13th place with a time of 50.942 seconds and Trent Matheson came in 19th with a time of 51.501 seconds. Among the women, Megan Sweeney finished third with a time of 49.021, only 0.455 seconds off the lead. Her sister Emily placed 7th with a time of 49.154 seconds. Julia Clukey, returning to competition after a training injury, finished 11th with a time of 49.347 seconds and WFG-adopted athlete Kate Hansen finished 17th with a time of 49.752 seconds. Doubles sliding featured the US team of Christian Niccum and Dan Joye finishing second with a time of 48.513, only 0.172 seconds off the lead. Not far behind them was the team of Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall, coming in fifth with a time of 48.867. And right behind them were WFG-adopted athletes Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin, whose 48.971 earned them sixth place.
In World Cup sliding, Tony Benshoof finished best among the US men with a two-slide combined time of 1:41.399, earning him ninth place. Bengt Walden finished 21st with a time of 1:42.001 and Chris Mazdzer came in 28th with his time of 1:42.883. The women had four sliders. Leading the US was current world champion Erin Hamlin and her two-slide time of 1:37.616 earned her third place and a bronze medal. Megan Sweeney finished 13th with a time of 1:38.601, while her sister Emily wasn’t far behind her for 16th place with a time of 1:38.859. Julia Clukey finished 19th with a time of 1:39.209. Doubles featured the team of Niccum and Joye coming in fourth with a time of 1:37.141, Mortensen and Griffall in 12th with a time of 1:37.743 and Grimmette and Martin finishing 13th with a time of 1:37.936.
The USA Luge team will slide next on January 2-3 in Koenigssee, Germany for a World Cup and Team Relay. Keep reading here for the latest on your USA Luge team!