Winter Games Athletes
Making her Olympic debut, Hansen posted four top-10 finishes in her second season on the World Cup circuit and enters Sochi with tremendous momentum after her surprising victory at Sigulda, Latvia, in which she set a track record in her second run to overtake Canadian and medal hopeful Alex Gough. While the powerful German team skipped the last World Cup event, Hansen's victory was the first for the US in singles since Cameron Myler won in Latvia in 1997 and vaulted her to a seventh-place finish in the World Cup standings. After narrowly missing out on being part of the 2010 squad, Hansen was hellbent on making the trip to Sochi, putting aside the pain of a broken foot suffered during a training run as part of the national team selection races in October. She won the final round to give her momentum for the World Cup season and her eventual Olympic nomination. She held the lead after the first run in the season-opening World Cup event in Lillehammer, Norway, but warm conditions and a late second-run start contributed to her eventual 12th-place finish. Hansen also has two runner-up finishes in as many starts this season in the team relay as the United States placed second in Winterberg, Germany, and Park City. She became the youngest US junior luge world champion in 2008, winning the women's singles title at the age of 15 years and 243 days.