"I was about ten years old, which is the youngest you can be to try it." said 15-year old US junior luger Mackenzie Rice.
The USA Junior Luge team training in Lake Placid is comprised of some of the best luge athletes in the country all working towards the same goal, the 2018 Olympics. These athletes didn't just sign up for the team, they were chosen. While most Americans think about luge once every four years, Mackenzie Rice, Blake Hagberg and Caitlin Bubel think about it constantly.
"You wake up and it's like, time to go slide. Wake up at like six in the morning and you're jet lagged. It's just all worth it when you get to the track." Rice said.
Luge takes extreme dedication and concentration, even for newcomers.
"It's nervous to start but once you get down the track you have to be prepared for it." 16-year old Blake Hagberg said. "When I lay down it's just my body trying to get ready to be in that position."
Before flying down the track, the lugers begin with a mind-run.
"Close your eyes and it's called a mind run. You'll just imagine yourself on the track." explained Rice. "You pull full start. You pretty much imagine the perfect run. And you just use your hands to know where the steers are. That's what I do. It's peaceful for me. It helps me relax in between each run."
The preparation takes hours; the race takes just seconds. Totally worth it says Hagberg.
"When you have a perfect run you just feel great afterwards. You just know you can do it and everything feels so smooth."
Before the 2014 Sochi games, the US Junior Team took silver at the Junior World Championships in Austria.
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