Erin Hamlin has raced well in Austria.
Why she’s had success on the Igls luge track, well, that’s a good question.
“Oh, I have no idea,” Hamlin said in a conference call earlier this week. “On paper it’s not really a track that I would think I’d be super successful at.”
The on-paper results show otherwise. Since 2007, Hamlin has four top 5 finishes with a bronze medal in eight appearances at the track that traditionally hosts one of the first races of the luge season.
Hamlin has finished in the top 10 at Igls on three other occasions, and she’ll get a chance to improve her performances in the World Cup season opener FRIDAY-TODAY or SATURDAY-TODAY.
Hamlin was sixth in Igls in the season opener a year ago. Of course, Hamlin ended the year with a career best performance: a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics outside of Sochi, Russia.
After a long offseason during which Hamlin and some teammates trained on four different tracks, the Remsen resident is ready for the runs to count.
“It will be nice to race internationally again to see how things go,” she said. “I feel good. I feel like the Olympics kinds of gave me a little bit of a confidence boost.”
Hamlin said the Igls track is short, magnifying the importance of the start that has never been one of her strong points. Once sliders come off the steep start ramp, the track drives well but there is little time to make up for early mistakes.
Hamlin earned the bronze in Igls in November 2010. Two years later, she was 11th in her worst finish in eight years.
Hamlin said sliders with fast runs will clock times in the range of high 39 seconds or low 40 seconds. Hamlin’s comfort in Igls might come from experience. She’s raced there often dating back to her junior days.
“Maybe that helps,” she said. “I’m comfortable on this track. It’s hit or miss, though. Consistency is huge and racing is always super, super close.”
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