|ESPN.com: Luge||[Print without images]|
Olympic bronze medalist Erin Hamlin is going to get her home-ice advantage back next season, for at least one weekend.
USA Luge released its schedule for the upcoming World Cup season on Wednesday, with the season's second stop coming at their home track in Lake Placid, New York -- the Mount Van Hoevenberg facility where Hamlin won the world championship in 2009.
"I'm always pumped about that," said Hamlin, whose hometown of Remsen, New York, is about a 2½ hour drive from Lake Placid. "My family and friends can come. It's the only time I am on home ice and it happens pretty rarely so I embrace it every time. It also comes with a little bit more pressure though, since it is where I won worlds and I will have to defend my track record. Win or lose though, it is always a blast to race there."
Hamlin also gets to return to the site of her Olympic medal performance, the venue in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia where she was third at this past winter's Sochi Games. The World Cup season will end there on Feb. 28 and March 1.
"I think it's awesome and it will be interesting to go back and see everything a year after the Olympics," Hamlin said. "The track is a ton of fun so I'm excited for that. I am a little surprised to see it on the schedule just because we have taken so many trips there over the past two seasons and it is incredibly expensive and difficult to get to."
Other stops on the World Cup circuit include Calgary, Canada (Dec. 12-13); Koenigssee, Germany (Jan. 3-4); Oberhof, Germany (Jan. 17-18); Winterberg, Germany (Jan. 24-25); Lillehammer, Norway (Jan. 31-Feb. 1); and Altenberg, Germany (Feb. 21-22).
The world championships are at Sigulda, Latvia on Feb. 14 and 15, and the junior world championships are in Lillehammer on Jan. 24 and 25.
Hamlin became the first American to ever win an Olympic singles luge medal at the Sochi Games, the crowning achievement of a season that also saw USA Luge's Kate Hansen become the first American to win a singles World Cup race since 1997.