LAKE PLACID — USA Luge has scheduled selection races over five days this month to finalize its team for the start of World Cup racing in late November in Beijing.
The competitions move forward as 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer prepares for surgery today. Mazdzer broke his foot a week ago in Sochi.
Mazdzer is racing both singles and doubles, but after the broken foot, he is sidelined along with doubles partner Jayson Terdiman. Together, they account for five previous Olympic berths.
Qualification for the opening five World Cups is a mandatory first step for athletes seeking a place on Team USA. The American World Cup squad will produce the 10 nominees for February’s Olympic Games. Those competitors will be announced in mid-January after the seventh of nine meets on the Eberspacher World Cup tour.
Men’s selection races are set for Oct. 8 and 10 in Sochi, and Oct. 16 in Lake Placid. To see where his team stacks up against one of the outstanding European squads, USA Luge head coach Robert Fegg is putting his charges up against Italy on Friday. All disciplines will participate with the Italians, although only the U.S. men are sliding for selection points.
The first two dates are scheduled on the 2014 Olympic track where Erin Hamlin won the team’s first-ever Olympic women’s and singles medal. USA Luge is currently in the second week of a two-week camp at the site. After that, the U.S. team will return to Lake Placid from Oct. 12-16 and finish the week with the final men’s selection race.
The field will include two-time Olympian Tucker West and Jonny Gustafson.
Women and doubles selection competitions are slated for Oct. 16 in Lake Placid, followed by a pair in Park City, Utah on Oct. 24-25. The team will train at the Utah Olympic Park, site of two U.S. Olympic doubles medals in 2002, from Oct. 20-25.
The team’s Lake Placid and Park City training camps will be their lone appearances in the U.S. prior to Beijing.
The women’s field will be highlighted by two-time Olympian Summer Britcher, 2018 Olympian Emily Sweeney, the Park City duo of Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson, as well as Chevonne Forgan.
In doubles will be Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger, Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander, and Forgan with Sophie Kirkby.
The World Cup action begins Nov. 20-21 on the new Olympic course in Beijing. The entire circuit will arrive in early November to catch up on lost training opportunities due to the pandemic and related travel restrictions.