Ridgefield Olympian Tucker West had homemade luge track at age 6

AP Photo
AP Photo

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Tucker West’s long slide to the Olympics began on a luge track his dad built in their backyard.

Inspired by watching the sliding sport during the 2002 Salt Lake Games with Tucker, then only 6, Brett West decided to construct a luge run behind the family’s home in Ridgefield, Conn. Without even drawing up plans, the Wests went to work and wound up with a functional, 800-foot-long wooden track.

The Wests even nicknamed a few of the turns, including McClaine’s Curve, because it bent toward the home of their neighbors, the McClaines.

The 18-year-old West, the youngest-ever member of the U.S. luge team, credits the track with getting him started.

“It’s awesome,” said West, who will compete in his first games on Saturday. “It’s still working.”

West had the fifth best start time during Friday’s final practice run, even faster than two-time gold medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy. The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in singles, but Erin Hamlin, a former world champion, World Cup race winner Kate Hansen, and two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer could surprise and make the podium.

In West and 19-year-old teammate Aidan Kelly of West Islip, N.Y., the Americans have a young nucleus that should improve through experience.

And who knows? There may a few 6-year-olds who watch them and convince their dads to grab a hammer and nails and head out back.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s