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Summer Britcher, Emily Sweeney eye Olympic debut of women’s doubles luge

Summer Britcher

Yanqing , China - 7 February 2022: Summer Britcher of United States during the Women’s Luge event on day three of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Sliding Park in Yanqing, China. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Sportsfile via Getty Images

Americans Summer Britcher and Emily Sweeney, who own a combined five Olympic singles luge appearances, are joining forces for the debut of women’s doubles on the World Cup this season as the event’s Olympic debut nears.

“When the IOC announced womens doubles will be in the 2026 Olympics in pursuit of gender equality we decided to be all in,” Sweeney posted on social media. “Since Summer and I started training for doubles together in July we have been living in the learning curve. And I’m loving it. We’ll see how our experience in singles transfers over in the first World Cup.”

The first World Cup women’s doubles event is Dec. 3 in Igls, Austria.

In June, the IOC announced that Olympic doubles luge will be divided into separate events for men and women in 2026. Doubles was previously open to men and women, but no women ever competed at the Olympics.

“Back in May we decided to take on this challenge together, and then we waited with fingers crossed for the International Olympic Committee’s ruling on Women’s Doubles inclusion in the 2026 Olympics,” Britcher posted. “In June, they ruled in favor of gender equality and inclusion, and everything was set into motion.”

In December 2019, Canadians Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless became the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race. Women’s doubles was added to the junior World Cup last year. A women’s doubles world championship was held last January. German teams went one-two. American teams finished third and fourth.

Britcher, who owns the U.S. luge record of five World Cup singles wins, and Sweeney, the 2019 World bronze medalist in singles, will not compete in singles and doubles every weekend. Singles will be the priority.

“I’ve heard for a really long time people compare [singles] to driving a Ferrari and then getting behind the wheel of a bus and trying to race [doubles],” Britcher said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a totally accurate description, but it’s definitely different.”

Britcher has the top Olympic finish between the two of 15th from the 2014 Sochi Games. Erin Hamlin is the lone U.S. woman to win an Olympic luge medal, bronze in 2014.

Chris Mazdzer, who added doubles to his plate after taking singles silver at the 2018 Olympics, plans to race a partial season and only in singles, according to USA Luge. Mazdzer, 34, wants to spend more time at home with wife Mara and 18-month-old son Nicolai.

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