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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:00 am


US lugers left emotional after harrowing day

News services

DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea – They walked away from the luge track one after the next, the three leading women of American luge, each sad and shaken.

The one who finished in 19th place said her performance was “incredibly devastating.” The one who finished in sixth place, the last Olympic race of her career, said she just wanted to go to bed and sleep. The one who crashed, caromed, and didn't finish was most upset, evaluated by doctors who detected neither head trauma nor broken bones, but crying nonetheless.

Emily Sweeney's injury cast a pall over this race, a reminder of what can happen on an ice track when going 80 miles per hour downhill. Halfway through the course, she skidded and lost control. Her body ping-ponged through several turns. She flew off her sled and fell backward. Officials rushed over with a stretcher. But Sweeney hobbled away on her own.

“I'm fine,” she said.

Germany's Natalie Geisenberger defending her singles Olympic gold medal, but for the US, the evening was by turns harrowing and somber. Erin Hamlin, the last US luger of the night, finished sixth, coming .269 of a second shy of the podium. Summer Britcher placed 19th.

Around the Games

The start of Mikaela Shiffrin's bid for multiple medals at the 2018 Olympics was delayed yet again when the women's slalom was postponed from Wednesday to Friday because of strong winds. ...

There will be no gold for Maame Biney in her first Olympics — or medal of any color. Biney, 18, the first African-American woman to make a U.S. Olympic speedskating team, was eliminated from her signature race in the 500 meters, finishing last in her four-woman heat. ...

Kei Saito, a reserve on Japan's short-track speedskating team, is the first athlete to test positive for a banned substance at the Pyeongchang Olympics. 

Saito tested positive for Acetazolamide, which can be used to treat conditions such as glaucoma and altitude sickness but can also be a masking agent.