Imagine riding a sled on your back at 70 miles per hour. "It’s you, the sled and the ice, and it’s like magic"
Kate Hansen made that comment to Los Angeles Times reporter Eric Sondheimer when she was 15 years old, after being introduced to the sport by a friend of her father. Now, six years later, Hansen is heading to Sochi as an Olympian having secured her spot on the 2014 US Olympic Luge team with her performance in Park City, Utah on December 13, 2013 – her combined time was 1:27:929
Hansen’s Olympic qualifying performance took place only two months after breaking her foot at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. When asked by Amy Donaldson of the Deseret News, how she was feeling Hansen replied, "This isn’t real… It hasn’t set in. I need to think about this."
Hansen lives in La Canada, California and attends school at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah – but considers Park City home. "I grew up here. My heart and soul is here… This is where I started, and it’s a great conclusion to this whole process."
Shortly before being named to the US Olympic Team, Hansen placed 6th in both the 2013 Whistler World Cup and the 2013 Lake Placid World Cup. Her Junior and Youth awards are too numerous to mention here, but they are listed on her USA Luge athlete bio, which can be found here.
Described by Eric Sondheimer, as a "true daredevil in every sense", Hansen has all the makings of an Olympic Luger. And luge, it seems, is truly a sport that only a daredevil would try – Olympic lugers can reach speeds in excess of 95 mph, while decending nearly 300 vertical feet in a matter of seconds.
When she’s not on the luge track, Hansen can be found surfing or making videos, which can be viewed on Hansen's YouTube channel.
Hansen joins teammates Summer Britcher, Erin Hamlin, Aiden Kelly, Chris Mazdzer, Tucker West, Preston Griffall, Matt Mortensen, Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman as she heads to Sochi to compete in the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
Opening Ceremonies will be aired Friday, February 7, on NBC. Luge events take place February 9 – 13. Follow Kate on Twitter @k8ertotz and join with us in wishing her good luck and fast sledding!