Britcher wins luge bronze in Austria

IGLS, Austria — In USA Luge’s COVID-impacted season, the women’s singles and sprint races on Sunday, Jan. 24 produced the team’s finest hour to date as Summer Britcher picked up a bronze medal in the Eberspacher World Cup singles event.

It was the first medal of this truncated season for the United States.

The two-time Olympian from Glen Rock, Pennsylvania returned later in the day and nearly made it a double bronze, finishing fourth in the sprint competition behind three Germans. Britcher was just 0.01 of a second from another podium.

Also in women’s singles for the U.S., Ashley Farquharson was eighth, Emily Sweeney finished 12th and Brittney Arndt 15th, which qualified her for the sprint.

Germany took the top two spots in singles with Natalie Geisenberger slding to the win and Julia Taubitz finishing second.

Geisenberger, with four Olympic gold medals on her resume, slid to the best individual heat times and turned back Taubitz by 0.08 of a second. Britcher was just .28 off the winning time by Geisenberger.

The American used third ranked starts in each leg to build the early momentum leading to the bronze medal effort.

“It’s been hard missing the first half of the season to get back into the swing of things,” Britcher said. “But today, the sun’s shining, the mountains are beautiful, I have great teammates, a great mood, and I was able to throw down two runs that I could be proud of.”

All four U.S. women are set to compete at the 50thWorld Championships in Koenigssee Jan. 29-31.