In snowy, 'absurd' World Cup luge race, Glen Rock's Summer Britcher settles for 20th place

Glen Rock's Summer Britcher, seen here in a file photo, had to settle for a 20th-place finish on Sunday in World Cup women's singles luge action in Germany in snowy conditions.
  • Glen Rock's Summer Britcher finished 20th in World Cup luge action on Sunday.
  • The event was held in heavy snow on a German track in the Ore Mountains.
  • Britcher said the snowy track conditions led to an "absurd race."

Heavy snow and a bad draw combined against Glen Rock's Summer Britcher on Sunday.

Competing in World Cup luge action in Altenberg, Germany, Britcher had to settle for a 20th-place finish in race conditions she called "absurd."

Sandra Robatscher of Italy got the first World Cup luge victory of her career, beating German star Natalie Geisenberger by about one-tenth of a second. Viktoriia Demchenko of Russia was third, grabbing the bronze by six-thousandths of a second over Emily Sweeney of the United States.

However, that only told a small part of the story.

Sunday's event was impacted by heavy snowfall, which canceled the second run of women's singles action, as well as the entire team relay event.

The luck of the track sweep was a major part of the story and came into play at this former East German location in the Ore Mountains adjacent to the Czech Republic.

Britcher was victimized by a late start number and the wrong end of the sweep. The two-time Olympian was in the third sled after a sweep and was then delayed at the start.

“The track crew was understaffed, leaving half of the track unswept for the entire race,” Britcher said on the USA Luge website. “This means instead of being first, second or third after the sweep, later athletes were really 20th, 25th or 27th after the sweep, leading to an absurd race.

“... No amount of frustration or complaining will make the track faster or more fair, so you might as well make the best of it in that moment. I can only hope that the FIL (International Luge Federation) ensures that the track organizers are capable of hosting a World Cup event before granting races to underprepared tracks in the future.”

Britcher wasn’t the lone elite racer hampered by the conditions. German standouts Julia Taubitz and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Dajana Eitberger were 24th and 25th, respectively. On the other hand, Tatyana Huefner, another German, started after the sweep and took seventh.

The current World Cup rankings, however, remain unchanged with Geisenberger ahead by 131 points with three races remaining in Oberhof and Sochi. Taubitz, on the podium in seven of nine races, is second overall, with Britcher in third.

The USA Luge website contributed to this report.