Time is up! Thanks for all the great questions! Keep up with my journey on social: @erinhamlin!

I'm Erin Hamlin- professional sledder. 3x Olympian, World Champion and 2014 Olympic medalist in luge! I go 90 mph for fun. AMA!


Check out all Winter Olympic AMAs at reddit.com/user/TeamUSAOlympics

Proof: https://i.redd.it/39kzo2rilfzz.jpg

Comments: 99 • Responses: 34  • Date: 


Who's your favourite member of The Wu Tang Clan ?

erin_hamlinluge30 karma

Ghostface killah for sure

yacht_boy21 karma

How do you get started in a sport like luge? Did your middle school have a luge track and bulletproof liability insurance?

erin_hamlinluge22 karma

Definitely not! USA Luge recruits through summer wheel clinics (called the slider search) and it is basically an open call tryout. I attended one in Syracuse, NY when I was 12, pretty much on a whim.

sonofabutch13 karma

So, since hurtling down a track at 90 mph doesn't faze you, what freaks you out in life?

erin_hamlinluge18 karma


sonofabutch6 karma

Butterflies too, or just moths?

erin_hamlinluge11 karma

Just moths really...

thefrankwhite12 karma

What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven a car?

erin_hamlinluge22 karma

Never over the legal limit ;)

cowboy_dude613 karma

Nice try, FBI.

erin_hamlinluge10 karma

I've never gotten a speeding ticket....so there's that. knocks on wood

helenonfire12 karma

Why luge and not skeleton? How similar / different are they?

erin_hamlinluge13 karma

I was exposed to luge first...we have to start much younger in this sport. Skeleton generally pulls athletes form track and field or other sports that involve sprinting. The main similarity is that we use the same track...after that it is very different. Obviously luge is feet first, skeleton head first. But luge is actually the most difficult and takes the longest to master. Because we have more driving ability it also means there is more room for error and the results of them are a bit more drastic.

helenonfire5 karma

Great answer thank you! Every winter Olympics I'm fascinated... But then forget about it. Sorry you're probably sick of people with that attitude!

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

More used to it than sick of it. We'll take what we can get! I appreciate the honesty...but there is a lot going on even outside of Olympic years...just saying.

J3STER_411 karma

How long did it take you to get used to it without being scared? Do the sleds ever lose control?

erin_hamlinluge12 karma

It definitely takes time to get used to the flow of sliding and how driving a sled works. Years of experience is what makes a successful athlete. Up until probably a few years ago I was definitely still learning a lot! Often they do lose control, learning how to handle it and getting it back under control is one of the best things to learn, and is what takes time!

IEGAcoach10 karma

Ok so please please do not take offense, I seriously know nothing about this sport but i find it fascinating.....what makes one person better at it than another? Like how do you train for this, or like edge out other people if you are just riding in something? Or is that bobsled? Congrats and good luck!

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

So with luge, I am (hopefully) completely in control the entire time...we can control/drive the sled with our legs, handles, and slight shifting of body weight. So have a really good feeling of the sled and the track is what makes people fast. The start is also important, unlike bobsled and skeleton we are seated and pull off of handles. A lot of upper body and core strength makes a great luge starter so that is another way to edge out others.

katehawks7 karma

Do people often want to tell you Cool Runnings jokes? Do you correct them? Good luck to you.

erin_hamlinluge8 karma

All the time! And yes, I definitely correct them, haha. Thank you!

JordanNY15 karma

Luge sounds like it's really fun but also really scary? What was your scariest moment in the sport?

erin_hamlinluge6 karma

I have had a few crashes that shook me up pretty good...once I barrel rolled...somehow landed back on my sled though. That was definitely not fun. I try not to dwell on the bad parts after learning what I can from them and moving on. So I honestly cannot pick out a single most terrible moment.

JordanNY12 karma

well good job and keep at it. We will all be cheering for you. GO USA!

erin_hamlinluge2 karma

Thank you!

ajmoyal5 karma

Erin. Sometimes I struggle with working out around my busy schedule. Got any tips for working out in a hotel room? airport? when you only have 15 minutes? :)

erin_hamlinluge4 karma

Get your heart rate up any way you can, and keep it there for 10 min! It will probably take you 5 to get it there... bodyweight squats, mountain climbers, burpees (the worst...but effective), planks (and any variation of them), lunges, v-ups/situps, pushups (from feet or knee). A jumprope is a great way to jack your heart rate up quick..and small so easy to pack. Really anything that keeps you moving. All of these are easy to google/youtube if you aren't sure what they are!

ajmoyal1 karma

Agreed... Burpees are the worst but definitely makes me pant in the end. Thanks for the tips!

erin_hamlinluge2 karma

No prob.

Cougar_90004 karma

You ever seen anybody fly over the guard rail?

erin_hamlinluge4 karma


ajmoyal3 karma

Do you have a race day pump up song? Any jam that really gets you going?

erin_hamlinluge7 karma

Nothing specific...I love Macklemore, Grace Potter, Ed Sheeran (not necessarily for pumping up), Jack Johnson...I'm not a big get pumped person. Thankfully luge requires a great deal of relaxation and finesse so I think being laid back is more a strength for me than an ability to get super pumped would.

AndarRoyce3 karma

What is your off-track training regimen like? And what kind of physical attributes do great lugers share?

erin_hamlinluge4 karma

We have a pretty busy off-track training schedule, mainly because we have much more time in the year to do that. Our start is the only time we can actually accelerate ourselves so the bulk of our training is based on have upper body, back and core strength. Grip is also important because we paddle on the ice so strong forearms/hands are helpful. Most athletes are in the weight room at least 3 days a week focusing on Olympic lifting..cleans, clean & jerks, as well as snatch are the closest explosive movements we can get to our start. I do a lot of stability and coordination work as well, in order to maintain body position while going down the track. Definitely strong arms & shoulders/lats are something that most luge athletes share.

Alexjessa0203083 karma

Hey Erin. What is the best luge joke? Thanks.

erin_hamlinluge14 karma

You're such a luuuuuger...with a hand held in the "L" shape on the forehead...everyone thinks they are so original with this one.

ultradip3 karma

When are they finally going to design tracks with clothoid loops?

erin_hamlinluge4 karma

Not sure gravity would be our friend if they did...we go fast, but probably not fast enough for that.

CSKING4442 karma

Coke or Pepsi?

erin_hamlinluge7 karma


Cougar_90002 karma

Whats the weirdest superstition you have or have seen in other lugers?

erin_hamlinluge3 karma

I always put my right glove on first...but it really isn't that weird...I'm right handed so easier for me to use a gloved right hand rather than a left...

Rebecca09252 karma

How much of the year can you train on the track vs other fitness training?

erin_hamlinluge2 karma

Most seasons we are on ice from the last week of September/first week of October until anywhere from early March through late April. Very often weather influences this as does how much training my body and brain can handle at the end of the season. Our racing schedule is generally from mid-November through the end of February.

CSKING4442 karma

What's your most awkward moment?

erin_hamlinluge15 karma

Saying "I have to pee" before a race run and having the camera catch it...first time we had a race broadcast live...

edc972 karma

What is your favorite food?

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

Chocolate :)

ajmoyal2 karma

I've seen pictures of your family and friends at races, so cool! It must be awesome to have that support. Have they always been that way or just after you got to the Olympics?

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

Always! I have the best support system. Both immediate family, extended family (I've got a big one..) and friends, members of my community and people I've never even met. I'm known for the crowd that I bring to home races in Lake Placid and have been so lucky to have my family support and have them able to make it to every olympics and a few other big races around the world. Mostly though they are at the Lake Placid and Park City races. They don't get to be there every time, unfortunately!

travelgalhere1 karma

I am thinking of a trip to Lake Placid? What should I do while there? Where should I stay?

erin_hamlinluge1 karma

There are so many options!! In the winter skiing is definitely a big draw, skating on the lake if its frozen. If you're a hiker or Xcountry skier, there are so many trails everywhere that are great and snowshoeing in winter is awesome! Obviously if you time it right (ahem, Dec. 15-16 this year we race there) you should check Mt. Vanhoevenberg out and catch some sliding action. Food is fantastic...the 'Dack Shack/Simply Gourmet is excellent, so is Taverna, Big Mountain Deli (used to work there...shameless plug 😝). I could go on for days... Lodging...highest end I'd say go for Whiteface Lodge. More intimate would be something like the Interlaken or Airbnb a cozy cabin or cottage.

sanskami1 karma

Why the hell don't you look?

erin_hamlinluge3 karma

It is more aerodynamic to keep my head back. And we do peek sometimes ;)

JordanNY11 karma

What has been the proudest moment of your career and what do you hope your legacy or message is that you'll eventually leave behind?

erin_hamlinluge4 karma

I feel very fortunate to have a couple. Being the first man or woman from the US to win a medal in singles luge is a pretty big moment for me, and the first woman, period. I feel like I have beaten the odds multiple times and come through as the under dog to find success (2009 worlds, 2014 Olympics, even last year at World Champs). It feels good to do something that nobody (somtimes even myself) thought I would accomplish. Sweeping the podium with my teammates a couple years ago was also a very proud moment. It shows that our camaraderie and team atmosphere made us a force to be reckoned with, and the strength of our women's program. I hope to leave a legacy that shows people to stick to who they are and what they dream to accomplish no matter what. Who cares where you're from, what you're "supposed" to do or be ABLE to do. Prove them all wrong. And do it with grace.

katehawks1 karma

Always curious, can you make $ doing this sport?

erin_hamlinluge6 karma

Some, but not as much as most people think Olympians or Olympic medalists make. Definitely not enough to completely live a comfortable life off of, unless you manage to get a bunch of endorsements, which is hard because it is not a mainstream, headlining sport.

katehawks1 karma

That sucks. Do you work another job? They should pay you!!!!!!!!!

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

Thankfully on the flip side, we have a great collection of sponsors and suppliers to my expenses are low. I travel and train on their dime so unless it is personal expenses, most is taken care of. It is worth it! And yes, very often athletes work part time jobs. I have in the past but am fortunate enough at the moment to be able to focus on training.

edc971 karma

What do you like doing in your spare time?

erin_hamlinluge3 karma

I love yoga, reading, baking, any outdoor activity really...biking, hiking, skiing, horseback riding ( I grew up with horses), spending time with my giant family, relaxing! To be honest, we don't get a ton of it..

ajmoyal1 karma

Can you write me a Haiku about luge?

erin_hamlinluge2 karma

I just finished training for the day so my brain is quite spent...

MattBaster1 karma

What's it like to slide down a track at 90 mph without looking?

erin_hamlinluge5 karma

Quite a rush...but because I am used to it my mind and body are able to slow it down in a way, and process it without thinking so my reactions happen without having to think and its chaos with a bit of finesse, riding right on the edge of out of control (it's the fastest). Trusting my skill and instinct enough to go blind and feel myself and sled working with the curves, and pressures (think basic physics) to go as fast as possible...and it all being over in 40-50 seconds is a pretty big shot of adrenaline