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Collected Wisdom: Kate Hansen, Olympic luger

She went to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as a relative unknown, but Kate Hansen came back as an viral video sensation. Hansen placed 10th in the women’s singles luge, but won the Internet with her pre-race dance routine and for playing part in a hoax put on by the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
by Erik Horne Published: March 22, 2014

She went to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as a relative unknown, but Kate Hansen came back as an viral video sensation.

Hansen placed 10th in the women’s singles luge, but won the Internet with her pre-race dance routine and for playing part in a hoax put on by the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Hansen is driving cross country from Lake Placid, N.Y., back home to California, and made a stop to visit relatives in Norman this weekend.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, she will speak to the congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 1506 W. Imhoff Road in Norman.

When they go to do recruitment clinics, they travel around America. It’s an open call for kids to try it out. They came to Long Beach when I was 10 years old. It’s the same sled, but with wheels on it, so I pretty much just tried out. But I surfed a lot growing up. In high school I played volleyball, basketball, track, softball. I did them all.

When I was about 15, I started traveling to Europe and competing on the international circuit. It was definitely a new experience. When we travel, it’s only teammates and coaches. There’s no parents. We’re on the road for about six months. It was definitely a tough adjustment but I learned a lot.

A lot of luging is just reaction, instinct. It’s definitely tunnel vision. You’re not really thinking at all, because if you think you’ll end up on your face. You’re not thinking about anything else besides what’s happening in front of you. And before you know it, your run’s over.

I was really happy with my performance. My training wasn’t the best the week before, so I was pretty lucky to squeeze into the top 10. There’s always things you think you could have done better, but after being in the Olympics, I’m definitely not going to worry about it. I was pretty stoked with how I performed.

I had no expectations. I didn’t assume anything going into it. I never really let myself think about the Olympics because it was such a far-off goal for me. I really wasn’t surprised by anything. I was taking everything in stride and was grateful to be there.

I broke my foot in the beginning of October, right before Olympic trials. I couldn’t walk and I was crutching around Europe for eight weeks. I couldn’t lift and I lost a lot of weight because of it. I just couldn’t really train properly. If I hit another wall, I could have injured my foot even worse. The whole time (during qualifying) I couldn’t put any pressure on it. It definitely threw a wrench into my Olympic plans, but it all worked out in the end. It was just a little tight in Sochi, but for the most part I could run and slide.

At qualifying (around Christmas time) I finished in top five, which automatically qualified me for the Olympic team. It was unbelievable. It had been a long three months. I had nothing left to give, nothing left to say. All I could do was cry. I was just grateful that it was over.

That (pre-race dance routine) is something I’ve pretty much done my whole career. I broke my foot in the beginning of the season, so I couldn’t really warm up properly. I couldn’t run but I could dance in place. When I started dancing, people would just kinda look and I’d stop. I used to get really embarrassed. But once I broke my foot, I just didn’t care what people thought of me. I went for it and that’s kinda what it turned into.

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by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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