The Tail of the Dragon got the best of Glen Rock’s Summer Britcher on Monday morning.
The Susquehannock High School graduate struggled at the end of the race during the first race of the women’s luge competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The course is known as the Flying Snow Dragon and the final section of the course is known as the Tail of Dragon and is considered to be especially treacherous.
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Glen Rock’s Britcher lost control of his sled near the end of the race and was barely able to finish. She was lucky to get out of the race unscathed. She finished 29th out of 35 competitors in the field after the first race. Britcher finished that first race in 1:00.986.
Despite his first difficult race, Britcher seemed to take the performance in stride. He blew a kiss to the crowd and bowed to the cameras. He also thanked viewers for watching.
Britcher fared much better during his second race, finishing in 59.156 seconds, which was the 15th fastest time in the second race.
Overall after the first two races, Britcher is 26th with a combined time of 2:00.142.
“I’m a little sad, but I’m fine and I’m also happy that I’m here,” Britcher said. “I am competing in the Olympics. One thing, when I decided to commit for another four years, I decided at some point that whatever the outcome was (win, lose, crash, history, mistakes) I wanted to end up feeling happy to have competed at this level and happy for the experience.”
Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger leads the event after two races with a time of 1:56.825, followed by another German, Anna Berreiter in 1:57.033. Russian Tatyana Ivanova is third with 1:57.416. Geisenberger is seeking to become the first three-time women’s singles gold medalist in Olympic history.
Ashley Farquharson is the best American after two races. She is 18 in 1:58,996. The other American in the field is Emily Sweeney, who is 28th in a 2:01.410.
The luger with the fastest time after four combined races will win the gold medal.
The women’s luge will conclude with two more races on Tuesday morning, giving Britcher two more chances to improve her position, although her first race almost certainly eliminated her from medal contention.
This is Britcher’s third Olympiad. It was ranked 15th in 2014 in Russia and 19th in 2018 in South Korea.
Britcher, 27, competes with a broken middle finger on his left hand, an injury he sustained last month. It is almost certain that he is hindering his performance in China.
Wearing gloves with tiny spikes on the fingertips, lugers dig into the ice as they paddle at first, looking to gain momentum to propel themselves down the track.
Because of his broken finger, Britcher can’t use his fingertips, so he’s using his knuckles to dig into the ice as he paddles, wearing soft, flexible silicone earplugs inside his gloves to to serve as a filler.
The third race of the women’s luge will begin at 6:50 am ET Tuesday, followed immediately by the fourth race. Both races will be broadcast live on Peacock’s streaming service, which is free to Xfinity customers.
Contact Steve Heiser at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ydsports. This story will be updated with more details.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism