She didn't sleep much the night before. And who could blame her? All of the hours Glen Rock native Summer Britcher had put in to the sport of luge over the last seven years led to Sochi, Russia, where she made her debut in the Winter Olympics on Monday in women's singles luge.
"I was just trying to have fun. That's something I struggle with because I take everything too seriously sometimes. So I was just up there reminding myself that I enjoy it and to have a good time," Britcher said to the media Monday night in an interview later provided to The York Dispatch by the United States Luge Association.
Having problems handling a pair of turns on the course during training runs over the weekend, Britcher corrected the issues Monday. She sat in 19th place among 31 lugers after her first run with a time of 51.222 seconds and improved in her second run of the day with a time of 50.930 seconds. After the first day of competition, Britcher's combined time of 1 minute, 42.152 seconds has her sitting in 15th place, 2.338 seconds behind leader Natalie Geisenberger of Germany.
"It was actually really great. I was having a lot of issues in training so going into today (Monday) I really just wanted to fix some of those and I did," Britcher said. "I still have a few issues but so far my race runs were my best runs this week so I can't be upset with that."
The competition features four total runs - two Monday and two Tuesday - and placing is determined by the fastest combined time.
The final two runs will be held Tuesday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. eastern standard time. Neither will be aired live on television but will be available to watch live online at NBColympics.com. The runs will later air on TV at 3.p.m. Tuesday on NBC.
Britcher, a 2012 Susquehannock High School graduate, said her nerves were calmed Monday when she spotted her family cheering her on. Britcher's mom, dad and older sister and brothers are in Sochi for the week.
"They're fantastic. I didn't see them after the first run, and I was wondering where they were and then I saw them on TV during Kate's run and I saw my brother and family," she said.
United States teammate Kate Hansen, who is also making her Olympic debut, posted a time of 50.794 seconds in her first run and 50.581 seconds in her second run and sits in 10th place with a combined time of 1:41.375.
The big news of the day for the United States luge team was the performance of three-time Olympian Erin Hamlin, who sits in third place with a combined time of 1:40.632 seconds.
"If she can get a medal that would be so amazing because no American woman has ever medaled in luge at the Olympics," Britcher said. "She deserves it. She works so hard."
--Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.