Britcher, Sweeney to race in women’s doubles luge

Emily Sweeney, left, and Summer Britcher pose for photos following the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Lake Placid in 2018. (News file photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — During a virtual press conference on Nov. 7, USA Luge singles athletes Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, and Emily Sweeney, of Lake Placid, announced that they will join forces in doubles luge.

Britcher is a three-time Olympian and has five World Cup career victories — the most in U.S. luge singles history. Sweeney is a two-time Olympian and 2019 World Championship bronze medalist.

The pair began training together in July. During the press conference, they said they have been working hard toward the upcoming competitive season.

“It’s been a lot of fun teaming up with Summer in a completely new way,” Sweeney said in a statement. “We’ve been teammates for years but being on the same sled solidifies our teammate relationship even more. Training together brings a whole new level of motivation and encouragement, and while it feels completely new at times, I’ve already seen our experience from singles transfer over to doubles, which is really encouraging.”

“Training and learning doubles with Emily has been so exciting,” Britcher said. “At this point in my singles career, I may not see improvements in my sliding week-to-week let alone run-to-run, but in doubles, we are beginners and it’s been cool to learn, improve and work with a teammate, which is something I have missed during my singles luge career.”

Although singles races will be their primary responsibility this season, both athletes are taking every advantage of the opportunity and combining their experience toward success.

“Being so established in singles, we are able to look at both of our careers, start to now,” Britcher said. “From the highs and lows, what worked and what didn’t, and to be strategic about how we train and approach every obstacle.”

While Britcher and Sweeney are fully funded as singles athletes for USA Luge, their pathway to doubles has presented challenges, especially as it relates to financing their doubles team.

“We are new to the discipline and since we are not traditional athletes, our pathway to funding and equipment looks a little different,” Britcher said. “We’ve been responsible for acquiring and funding our own equipment, but we are all in and ready to do what it takes to see what we’re capable of this year.”

The duo plan to make their competitive debut at the World Cup in Igls, Austria in December.

World Cup action will resume Dec. 3-4 in Igls, Austria, when the nine-race season kicks off. The circuit will return to the U.S. for the first time since 2019 for the EBERSPCHER World Cup on Dec. 16-17 in Park City, Utah. World Championships are slated to take place in Oberhof, Germany on Jan. 27-29, 2023.

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