US luger Emily Sweeney taken to hospital after crash on final run
February 13 at 8:16 AM Email the author
Emily Sweeney leaves the track after crashing. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)
DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea â" They walked away from the luge track one after the next, the three leading women of American luge, each disappointed and shaken in her own way. The one who finished in 19th place said her performance was âincredibly devastating.â The one who finished sixth, in the final Olympic race of her career, said she just wanted to go to bed and sleep. The one who crashed, caromed, and didnât finish the race was the luger most upset of all, evaluated by doctors who detected neither head trauma nor broken bones, but crying nonetheless.
It was Emily Sweeneyâs injury that cast a pall over this race, a reminder of what can happen on an ice track when going 80 miles per hour. Halfway through the course, near the ninth turn, she skidded and lost control. Her body ping-ponged through several more turns. She flew off her sled and fell backward. Officials rushed over with a stretcher. But Sweeney hobbled away on her own.
[Emily Sweeney isnât the first to crash on notorious Curve 9]
âIâm fine,â she said 20 minutes later, wiping tears, telling the half-dozen people around her that she didnât want to go to the hospital. A USA Luge official said she was taken to a clinic at the Olympic Village for evaluation.
Americans are still only on the fringe of the womenâs luge world, where Germany again dominated Tuesday night, with Natalie Geisenberger defending her Olympic gold medal. But it is nights like these that U.S. lugers pinpoint as the best opportunity to grow the sport â" by w inning medals, by grabbing the spotlight. Instead, the evening was by turns harrowing and somber, ending as the countryâs most decorated female luger, Erin Hamlin, came .269 seconds shy of the podium.
âThis is the end,â Hamlin said not long after. âIâm ready to sleep. Iâm ready for pizza and a long time of sleep.â
Geisenberger won gold by maintaining the lead she took into the day. The womenâs luge singles event is composed of four runs split over two days. Germanyâs Dajana Eitberger grabbed the silver, and Canadaâs Alex Gough won bronze. Hamlin, the flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies, was the highest U.S. finisher at sixth.
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