Less than six-hundredths of a second separated Summer Britcher from a World Luge Championships bronze medal on Saturday in Winterberg, Germany.
In the end, however, the Glen Rock woman had to settle for a fifth-place finish in the women's singles competition.
German superstar Natalie Geisenberger won the race for her ninth world championship overall, one more than fellow German Tatjana Huefner for the most in women’s luge history. Geisenberger clocked in at 1 minute, 53.868 seconds.
Julia Taubitz of Germany won silver in 1:54.293 and American Emily Sweeney won bronze in 1:54.381, less than a year after she fractured her neck and spine in a horrifying crash at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Russian Tatyana Ivanova raced in between the Americans, in fourth place, thanks to the third-fastest final heat. Her overall time was 1:54.424. Britcher, a two-time Olympian, sat in third place after her first run, but was unable to hold that position in her second run and finished in 1:54.437.
“Overall, I am pretty happy with my performance,” the Susquehannock High School graduate said on the USA Luge website. “My first run was nearly perfect, which put me in a great position. I had a few mistakes my second run, but overall, it was a pretty decent run. I’m a little disappointed to have dropped back, but I’m really proud of myself for leaving it all on the line and not holding back, and I’m really proud of Emily for throwing it down on the second run and putting USA on the podium.
"We’re a strong team and this isn’t something out of nowhere. I think we’re continuing to prove that we’re a team and we’re here fighting. Any weekend, any track, we have the potential to succeed.”
Britcher entered the race at No. 3 in this season's World Cup standings.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.