USA luger Emily Sweeney posts Instagram thanking fans for support after crash

USA luger Emily Sweeney posts Instagram thanking fans for support after crash
USA Luge – During her final run in tonight’s women’s… | Facebook
nPYEONGCHANG, South Korea — As lugers from Germany and Canada celebrated their medals in the luge women’s singles competition, the USA’s Emily Sweeney slowly inched her way through the mixed zone, stopping for reporters just long enough to squeeze out, “I’m OK.”

Roughly an hour earlier, Sweeney had been tossed and slammed to the ice while navigating through the track’s ninth curve, a precarious weave for lugers angling for the podium that swiftly turned into something far more serious.

On her Facebook page, Sue Sweeney wrote: “This night has clearly not been the one we imagined for our daughter’s Olympic career. We witnessed a very intense crash on the luge course and waited with everyone else to find out if she is OK. The truth is that she will be OK physically after a painful recovery but it will take some time emotionally. But we have witnessed once again what makes our youngest child an Olympic champion. She may not have a medal but she has proven over and over again that she has the heart and soul of an Olympian. I honestly don’t understand it at all — and I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it as well as she does. But I am again brought to tears by her perseverance and her deepest integrity as an athlete and a role model. I admire you more than you will ever know, Emily Sweeney — and I love you to infinity and beyond.”
USA Luge - During her final run in tonight's women's... | Facebook
USA Luge – During her final run in tonight’s women’s… | Facebook

“At that point, sports and racing doesn’t matter. It’s someone’s health,” said her teammate, Erin Hamlin, who finished sixth after capturing the bronze four years ago in Sochi. “It was definitely not something you want to see.”

Eight years after the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who suffered a fatal crash on the day of the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games, the sport was briefly and frighteningly reminded of its inherent risk.

“A normal curve will spit you out in the middle of the straightaway,” West, a two-time Olympic luger from Ridgefield, said in December. “But this curve kind of spits you out into the right wall, so you have to do a lot of interesting drives in the middle to create a lot of artificial pressure, which will help you hold onto the curve just a little bit longer so it will spit you our more into the middle.

“It is dangerous,” said American Summer Britcher, who finished 19th. “We’re going 80 miles per hour with a helmet on down an ice track.”

American luger Emily Sweeney silences Winter Olympics crowd with horrific crash

Lugers strap on their gear, lie prone on their backside and traverse curve after curve at insane speeds, and can find themselves pinballing from one side of the track to the next with just one errant move – as did Sweeney, who put her feet to the ice in an attempt to steady her progress but then toppled off her sled, drawing a team of medical personnel to the ice and leading to a 10-minute delay in competition.

Athletes racing after Sweeney stood atop the track and waited, unable to completely refocus until they saw two USA Luge members share a smile.

Sue Sweeney, center, the mother of Emily Sweeney of the United States, cries out as her daughter crashes on the final run during the women’s luge final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  (AP)

She was OK: Sweeney was “banged up,” the event doctor said, and suffered no broken bones. In the end, after minutes of angst, worry and concern, it was the best the situation could’ve offered.

The 24-year-old Maine native started to lose control on Curve 9 of her fourth and final run of women’s singles luge Tuesday. She skidded sideways and careened down the steep and icy track before hitting her head and then her feet on opposite walls at the Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. She was thrown from her sled and eventually tumbled to a stop.

But lugers accept the bumps and bruises, and the scares, as part of the sport. Signing up for the sliding sports demand that you “switch off” the part of your brain that worries about the risk, said Austria’s Madeleine Egle, and focus instead on the final result.

Medical personnel clambered onto the track to attend to Sweeney as a hush fell over the crowd. Television cameras on NBC’s live feed avoided showing her after the crash. A stretcher was brought out, but after several tense minutes Sweeney was able to get to her feet. Several more minutes passed before she gingerly walked to the finish area amid relieved applause.

“It is luge. It happens,” said Latvia’s Ulla Zirne, who came in 12th. “So I know it happens. I’ve been there myself. I know what it means. So I wasn’t scared or anything.”

“I’m very sore, and pretty stiff,” Sweeney told Johnson. “I’m going to get an X-ray on my back after this, but I wanted to have the last word. So thanks for all the support, you guys. It’s a bummer, for sure, and I know that I’m better than that. But here we are – it happens.”
US luger Emily Sweeney taken to hospital after crash on final run
US luger Emily Sweeney taken to hospital after crash on final run

Army Sgt. Emily Sweeney crashes out of Olympics

It also means accepting, if begrudgingly, that accidents can and will happen. At home, viewers may watch the events for the thrills and the spills – the satirical web site The Onion even published a story on Monday headlined “Nation Praying For Super Nasty Luge Accident,” which despite the parody seemed scarily prescient.

Sweeney is a sergeant in the U.S. Army National Guard and part of the Army World Class Athlete Program. When she conducted interviews soon after the crash, Nathan asked if the military background contributed to why she walked off the track, but Sweeney said that is just who she is.

The video of Emily Sweeney’s crash is horrifying, but it sounds like she’s doing okay

It nearly came one day later. Three factors contributed to Sweeney’s spill: the curve, which jostled even the great Felix Loch of Germany in the men’s singles competition; the track, a brand-new spot for many in the field; and the ice, colder even than usual due to the frigid temperatures at the Alpensia Sliding Centre.

“It’s been a long journey. I know that the people who know me are supportive, no matter what I do on the track. They’re happy with the person I am off the track, so that’s what I am going to focus on walking away from here,” she said.

“Everyone competing at this level is extremely talented, but accidents do happen,” said Britcher. “It’s the nature of the sport, of any sport at a high level.”

American luger Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Connecticut, is stiff, sore and has a severely sprained left ankle after a horrific crash during her final run of the singles competition of the 2018 Winter Olympics Tuesday, but she is otherwise OK.

It’s just that luge – along with the other sliding sports, and several Winter Games events altogether – entails a degree of danger not found in the Summer Games, for example, and a level of peril that often whitewashed over by a heavy focus on the medal podium. Competing for a medal means embracing that risk.

Curve 9 has been a problem for sliders throughout the early portion of the Olympics, causing many to skid, lose control and lose some time. Crashes, however, have not come as often as they did in the 2006 and 2010 Games, both of which left athletes openly complaining about track safety.
Suffield's Sweeney Says She's Fine After Frightening Olympic Luge Crash
Suffield’s Sweeney Says She’s Fine After Frightening Olympic Luge Crash

“You have to give everything,” Egle said. “Sometimes you crash.”

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — As lugers from Germany and Canada celebrated their medals in the luge women’s singles competition, the USA’s Emily Sweeney slowly inched her way through the mixed zone, stopping for reporters just long enough to squeeze out, “I’m OK.”

Roughly an hour earlier, Sweeney had been tossed and slammed to the ice while navigating through the track’s ninth curve, a precarious weave for lugers angling for the podium that swiftly turned into something far more serious.

“At that point, sports and racing doesn’t matter. It’s someone’s health,” said her teammate, Erin Hamlin, who finished sixth after capturing the bronze four years ago in Sochi. “It was definitely not something you want to see.”

Team USA’s Emily Sweeney emerged without serious injury following a scary crash in her final run at the Winter Olympics in the women’s singles luge on Tuesday. Afterward, she posted a message on Instagram thanking those who have sent “supportive messages.”

Eight years after the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who suffered a fatal crash on the day of the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games, the sport was briefly and frighteningly reminded of its inherent risk.

The 24-year-old Maine native slid into the course wall after a particularly difficult stretch along the course’s ninth turn. On Wednesday, she reassured fans in an Instagram post, reiterating that she is OK.

WATCH: Horror crash during luge event shocks Winter Olympics

“It is dangerous,” said American Summer Britcher, who finished 19th. “We’re going 80 miles per hour with a helmet on down an ice track.”

Lugers strap on their gear, lie prone on their backside and traverse curve after curve at insane speeds, and can find themselves pinballing from one side of the track to the next with just one errant move – as did Sweeney, who put her feet to the ice in an attempt to steady her progress but then toppled off her sled, drawing a team of medical personnel to the ice and leading to a 10-minute delay in competition.

American Emily Sweeney Walks Away From a Terrifying Luge Crash in Pyeongchang

Athletes racing after Sweeney stood atop the track and waited, unable to completely refocus until they saw two USA Luge members share a smile.

She was OK: Sweeney was “banged up,” the event doctor said, and suffered no broken bones. In the end, after minutes of angst, worry and concern, it was the best the situation could’ve offered.

American luger Emily Sweeney hospitalised after horror crash at Winter Olympics

But lugers accept the bumps and bruises, and the scares, as part of the sport. Signing up for the sliding sports demand that you “switch off” the part of your brain that worries about the risk, said Austria’s Madeleine Egle, and focus instead on the final result.

“It is luge. It happens,” said Latvia’s Ulla Zirne, who came in 12th. “So I know it happens. I’ve been there myself. I know what it means. So I wasn’t scared or anything.”

It also means accepting, if begrudgingly, that accidents can and will happen. At home, viewers may watch the events for the thrills and the spills – the satirical web site The Onion even published a story on Monday headlined “Nation Praying For Super Nasty Luge Accident,” which despite the parody seemed scarily prescient.

It nearly came one day later. Three factors contributed to Sweeney’s spill: the curve, which jostled even the great Felix Loch of Germany in the men’s singles competition; the track, a brand-new spot for many in the field; and the ice, colder even than usual due to the frigid temperatures at the Alpensia Sliding Centre.

Frightening luge crash stuns Winter Olympics athletes, fans

“Everyone competing at this level is extremely talented, but accidents do happen,” said Britcher. “It’s the nature of the sport, of any sport at a high level.”

It’s just that luge – along with the other sliding sports, and several Winter Games events altogether – entails a degree of danger not found in the Summer Games, for example, and a level of peril that often whitewashed over by a heavy focus on the medal podium. Competing for a medal means embracing that risk.

“You have to give everything,” Egle said. “Sometimes you crash.”


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