New Englanders Prepare for Final Olympic Luge Qualifier

Fresh alpine air and scenic mountain views are what make historic Lake Placid, New York, so beautiful in the winter. But Wednesday brought very cold, treacherous conditions, and even lugers with Team USA had a tough time.

Olympic hopeful Emily Sweeney said training on the luge track was rough.

"I was a little bit out of control," she said.

Athlete Tucker West agreed, saying,

"This was definitely the coldest day we've had all year," he said.

Former Olympian Chris Mazdzer called it "a good wakeup call."

"This is the hardest ice we've had all year," Mazder said.


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They are among the most elite athletes from all over the world who are in Lake Placid this week to race in the World Cup Luge. The next few days are critical for Team USA athletes, as the competition marks the end of the qualifying process for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

New England native Emily Sweeney is battling for the third spot in the women's squad. She was born in Portland, Maine, and is from Suffield, Connecticut. She also serves in the military.

"There's nothing like a hometown feel of a New England small town," she said. "Small communities, just a great place to grow up."

West is also from Connecticut.

"It was cold, so I kind of grew up as a winter-loving person," he said. "I would always go sledding in the backyard."

Mazdzer, a two-time Olympian, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He is hopeful he is able to slide his way into the 2018 Winter Olympics one step at a time.

"The goal is to do well here and then carry that forward," he explained.

The World Cup Luge takes place Friday and Saturday. There are only 10 spots on Team USA Luge: three for the women's team, three for the men's, and four spots for the double teams. Olympic nominees will be announced on Saturday.

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