Bill and Carrie Britcher talk about their daughter's return to the Olympic luge competition.
For Summer Britcher, the luge track at Lillehammer, Norway, is her happy place.
The Glen Rock woman earned her third silver medal of the 2019-2020 World Cup season on Saturday in women's singles action.
The Susquehannock High School graduate was the top American finisher at the event.
Tatyana Ivanova of Russia had the fastest time in both heats to earn the win, crossing the line in 1 minute, 35.482 seconds. Britcher took the silver in 1:35.599 and Germany’s Julia Taubitz was third in 1:35.624.
Britcher, a two-time Olympian, has enjoyed success before at the Lillehammer track, in part because USA Luge typically sends a large contingent of sliders there to train in the fall – as do many other nations. The facility tends to open for the season before most other tracks around the world.
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Britcher won twice two seasons ago when the tour last visited Lillehammer. As to her success here?
“It comes down to a few things,” she said on the USA Luge website. “One of them is that I just love to slide here. I love this track, I love where we stay. It’s beautiful.
"And the other thing is, the past four years, I think, I’ve trained from the top of the track. Three of those years I raced in the (fall) fun race, the Lillehammer Cup in the men’s category from the top of the track, so it kind of takes some stress off. Get some more experience, then go down and compete at a lower start height. It’s my opinion that we should all be racing from the top, but I’ll take advantage of the experience as long as there is that discrepancy.”
Britcher thrived despite conditions that weren't to her liking. Instead of the typical arctic cold, the Lillehammer event encountered mild temps all week. Race conditions were foggy, with the mercury stuck in the low to mid-30s. Britcher admitted that, usually, the warmth doesn’t agree with her.
“I was a little disappointed in the beginning of the week to see the forecast,” she said. “I typically don’t perform as well in warmer weather, so I just had to re-focus and try to do my best out there. I’m pretty happy with how things went.”
Brittney Arndt had a big finish for the U.S. women, placing ninth, while Ashley Farquharson was 17th.
Britcher’s silver moved her to fourth in the season points standings at 370 points, behind Ivanova (582), Taubitz (550) and Russia’s Viktoriia Demchenko (392). Britcher finished third in the final standings in each of the last two years.
Emily Sweeney, who also has three medals for the U.S. women this season, did not compete Saturday. Sweeney – who broke bones in her neck and back in a crash at the 2018 Olympics – was unable to train in Lillehammer this week after leaving last week’s World Cup with some neck pain. By not racing, Sweeney slipped to sixth in the points standings.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press and the USA Luge website contributed to this report.