Erin Hamlin Makes History by Earning 1st U.S. Olympic Singles Luge Medal

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffFebruary 12, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 11:  Erin Hamlin of the United States celebrates winning bronze medal in the Women's Luge Singles on Day 4 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Erin Hamlin won a bronze medal in Tuesday’s women's luge event, which marks the first time that an American singles luge athlete has earned a trip to the podium since the sport was first introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1964.

Prior to Hamlin’s third-place finish, U.S. singles luge participants had placed fourth in the Olympics three times, but her effort Tuesday ended a medal drought for her country that had spanned the past half-century.

Overall, Hamlin’s medal is the fifth in U.S. Olympic luge history, but the first four—two silvers and two bronzes—came in doubles competition.

Hamlin, a three-time U.S. champion (2008-2010) in her event, earned her spot in history by recording a time of 3 minutes, 21.145 seconds, which placed her 0.236 seconds behind silver medallist Tatjana Huefner of Germany and ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Canada’s Alex Gough, by 0.433 seconds. Germany's Natalie Geisenberger captured the gold medal in Tuesday’s event with a time of 3:19.768.

Hamlin, a three-time Olympian, placed 12th in the 2006 Turin Games and 16th in Vancouver in 2010 before capturing bronze in the Sochi Games. The Remsen, N.Y., native’s historic medal performance Tuesday should help ease the sting of her 16th-place showing in Vancouver, which occurred a year after Hamlin won the world title in her sport.