Salt Lake's Preston Griffall, BYU's Kate Hansen secure spots on 2014 US Olympic luge team
Hansen actually fulfilled the selection criteria last weekend, but a top-five finish from a teammate would have jeopardized her spot. That was never a concern as Hansen’s first run was the second-fastest of the round.
“I thought I was going to win,” Hansen said of her thoughts between runs. “I’ll be honest. I thought I was going to pull it out, and I was way stoked for my second run. But I am just grateful that I had a clean run and I’m in one piece.”
Hansen broke her foot on the Utah Olympic Park’s track on the first run of team seeding races in October. But she said she had no trepidation about competing on the same track Friday.
“I grew up here,” she said of Park City. “My heart and soul is here. I would say it was tough coming back after the broken foot, but I was just glad to be back in America, back with the people I love.” Her fourth-place finish is her career best.
“I didn’t know I had it in me, but I’m just stoked,” she said. “This is where I started, and it’s a great conclusion to this whole process.”
Hansen’s combined time was 1:27.929, while Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger was the fastest slider in both heats with a combined time of 1:27.628.
In addition to the locally connected athletes qualifying, four other racers earned nominations to the Olympic team. Summer Britcher, who finished ninth, joins Erin Hamlin, who qualified earlier this season, and Hansen. In the doubles, Christian Niccum and partner Jayson Terdiman qualified when they defeated Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk in doubles.
Julia Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, finished sixth in Friday’s race, but she needed a top-five finish to beat Britcher for the third and final spot on the team.
The World Cup continues Saturday with men’s races at 11:15 a.m. and team relay races at 3 p.m. Hansen also qualified for a spot on the relay team with the fastest individual run time Friday.
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