athlete profile: erin hamlin, luger
My Mantra: Just be yourself and slide.
My Habitat: Remsen, NY and Lake Placid, NY
My Winter Habitat: The road, with my team, competing around the world
LAKE PLACID – MY SECOND HOME
Lake Placid. It’s always been pretty cool to train – and sometimes compete – in the shadows of such a great Olympic legacy. Every once in a while I have to pinch myself while we’re doing flat ice (paddle training) on the 1980 Rink, knowing the history that went down there.
Competing in Lake Placid is thrilling – you have fans! Having familiar faces around you, being comfortable and “at home” makes it so much easier to race well. I’ve competed all over the world, but it’s always awesome to come back and have the venues here put on great events that everyone loves.
I’m so proud of this place. I get to share the experience with everyone from home and, let’s face it; racing on home ice is the best. However, it also brings a bit of extra pressure! We are so used to competing overseas that it really isn’t a big deal at all, but having home-ice advantage is very refreshing. I have to say though; it’s extra satisfying to beat competitors on their home ice.
DOWNTIME – SUCH AS IT IS
After the season ends, it’s the most exciting and rewarding thing just to come home. Bonus if my season has gone well, but either way, after living out of a suitcase and in different hotels every week, sleeping in my own bed, eating good home-cooked meals, and doing normal laundry (not in the bathtub) is the greatest thing ever.
In the summer, when I am not fatigued from training, I love to either get out on a lake somewhere paddle boarding, or hiking. It’s hard sometimes because, after training for half the day and knowing I have to do it again the next day, pushing myself to do active outdoor activities is tough!
But I love getting outside and remembering why I love being from, and growing up in, this area.
The past two off seasons I’ve been based mostly in my hometown of Remsen, when not training in Lake Placid. I hang out on the deck at my parent’s house and just relax with my family. For so many years, I missed out on that key quality time with them, so it feels nice to be able to make up for all those season racing and on the road.
We’ll jump on the horses and take a quick ride around our property, or we’ll all go for a leisurely bike ride or paddle, which is still sort of active but is still relaxing! Being on the lake is one of my favorite ways to wind down after a long day.
This coming season, I’m looking forward to just getting out there for races. Our off-season and fall pre-season seem to drag on forever, so I’m very excited to get into the World Cup season and race. I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would, so it’s really fun to race just to enjoy it all and see how fast I can go.
five rounds with erin hamlin
THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED:
To do my own thing, only worry about what I have to do, and do it. Just be myself and slide. Also to have fun…that has kind of become the tag line with all of my family when they say good luck before races and everything. It is huge…if I can’t have fun while I’m doing this then what’s the point? I am very thankful to have people surrounding me who think that way and support me that way, who at the same time embrace life with that attitude. It’s a game changer.
BEST MOMENT IN COMPETITION:
Winning Worlds at home will always be a very special moment in my career. My family and friends were there with me, and it was a big turning point in the women’s competition. Nobody beat the Germans for so long before that, and since then, there has been a bit more variety on the podium, which has been cool to see. Obviously winning an Olympic medal is also up there. It’s something I never imagined accomplishing, even though it is what I worked for, for so long. The whole experience was so surreal, it still seems crazy!
FAVORITE PLACE TO COMPETE:
That’s a tough one because tracks move up and down on my “favorites” list when I do better on them. Japan was an amazing place to visit, and the track there is very unique so I really enjoy that location, but I have only raced there once. Racing at home in Lake Placid is always special because my whole family is able to watch, as well as a good portion of my hometown who always make the trip up.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are dominating my music lately. Grace Potter is usually always on there. It switches up a lot. Alex Clare, the more upbeat Ed Sheeran stuff.
WHY I LOVE LUGE:
I love the adrenaline rush that comes from sliding on the edge of control in order to go as fast as possible. Sometimes, being a little out of control is faster, so knowing how to reign that back in when you need to is essential to success.
Erin Hamlin is a Luge athlete, sponsored by Whiteface Lake Placid. She is the 2014 Olympic bronze-medalist in Luge at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.