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USA's Erin Hamlin from Remsen NY slides in the Sochi Olympics Womens Luge 2/10/14. Hamlin was in 3rd place after the first two runs. Photo: © Nancie Battaglia
USA's Erin Hamlin from Remsen NY slides in the Sochi Olympics Womens Luge 2/10/14. Hamlin was in 3rd place after the first two runs. Photo: Nancie Battaglia

How the North Country is faring in Sochi

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Luger Erin Hamlin, after two blistering runs on Monday, is well-positioned for an historic first, an Olympic medal for a woman luger.

Biathletes Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey struggled yesterday to disappointing finishes, but will have another chance later in the week.

Mens downhill skiier Andrew Weibrecht from Lake Placid has arrived in Sochi after sitting out the first downhill event. He'll race on Friday.

We hear from photojournalist Nancie Battaglia, Erin Hamlin, Tim Burke and Andrew Weibrecht in Sochi, Russia.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Luge:

North Country luge sledder Erin Hamlin is in the hunt for a historic medal in Sochi. If she pulls it off, she would be the first woman luger from the US to capture an Olympic medal. Hamlin, who comes from Remsen New York laid down two blistering fast runs on Monday, finishing in second place and then third place. She'll have to do it again in two more runs a little more than an hour from now in Sochi.

Brian Mann checked in with our Sochi correspondent Nancie Battaglia who was at trackside for Hamlin's first two runs.

Brian Mann: We watched from here in the North Country as Erin Hamlin laid down these two, scorching fast initial runs. Describe what that was like at trackside, where you were today.

Nancie Battaglia: She only goes by me for a split second, and then she's gone! In both runs she looked clean to me. The place I was standing for her first run, she was, I'm going to say, about middle of the track. And its an area where you can see that other sliders have gone high. And she was not real high, which was a good thing, because if you get too high, you hit the upper lip of the track. I think she was where she was supposed to be.

In a clip distributed by the USA Luge Federation, Hamlin spoke about her run.

"I don't feel any different, I've been pretty comfortable all week," she said. "My training's been decent and I know I've had a lot of speed kind of in the bag all week, and so it's nice to see where that puts me today. But you know, I'm now in third, and I want to get back to second. So I'm not looking behind me but I know it's close, so I can never be completely comfortable."

BPM: Nancie, tell me about Erin Hamlin's support crew. Does she have family and friends there from the U.S. cheering her on?

NB: Oh, she has a big support crew here. I ran into her parents and family two days ago. There were sseven of them , including moms and dads and brothers and girlfriends and whomever. And they're making a lot of noise I think at the finish line.

BPM: Will you be back at the sliding track for her last two runs?

NB: Yes. At this point, I am planning to be there. I want to be there if she medals. It's going to be a big celebration.

That's Nancie Battaglia our correspondent in Sochi, who will be at trackside at 9:30 am ET to watch Erin Hamlin's final two runs.

Biathlon:

USA's Tim Burke,center bib 67, in a scramble of biathletes training for the Mens 10km Olympic sprint Friday. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
USA's Tim Burke,center bib 67, in a scramble of biathletes training for the Mens 10km Olympic sprint Friday. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
It was another tough day on the snow yesterday for the North Country's biathletes. Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey struggled in soft snow conditions, with Burke from Paul Smiths finishing 22nd and Bailey from Lake Placid crossing the finish line in 28th position.

After the race, Tim Burke spoke with the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's Chris Knight, one of our correspondents in Sochi.

"I was really disappointed, said Burke. "I was just incredibly flat today; one of the worst feelings skiing I've had in I can't even remember since when. It's incredibly disappointing."

Asked if he had just "ran out of gas," Burke said, "I felt that way about halfway through the first loop today. I was just completely empty right from the start, so that was a really, really tough race for me. It was really tough conditions as well; it was super soft which made it really slow--tough going for everyone, for sure."

Adding to the difficulty of the soft snow conditions, Lowell Bailey also finished the race with three shooting penalties. Both men will have another run later in the week in the men's individual 20k.

Downhill Skiing:

Alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht after his bronze medal performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
Alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht after his bronze medal performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht from Lake Placid has arrived in Sochi after sitting out the first downhill skiing event. He'll race in the men's supercombined downhill races beginning on Friday. Weibrecht, who won his bronze in Super-G in Vancouver four years ago, spoke with reporters after a training run yesterday.

"It's great to be back here," said Weibrecht. "It's always an honor to race for the U.S. I feel like my skiing has come along pretty good in the last couple of weeks, so I'm psyched to put some good runs together. It's a super nice Super G hill. Hopefully the snow sets up a little bit and we have a goos fair race."

There have been concerns about the quality of snow in Sochi, as temperatures continue to rise. Weibrecht, meanwhile, has struggled since Vancouver with illness and equipment problems.

Find all of NCPR's reporting on the North Country in Sochi here, and find even more on Twitter at #NCPROlympics.

 

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