RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — Tucker West, who learned the sport of luge on a track built in the backyard of his Ridgefield home by his father, will be making his second trip to the Olympics.
West was the youngest man ever to represent the U.S. in luge when he went to the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.
Now 22, West is heading to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the top luger from the U.S.
West was named to the team Friday with two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer and Taylor Morris. They will be competing in hopes of winning Team USA’s first individual men’s medal in the sport of luge.
The announcement was made after a World Cup race Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y. West finished third, with Morris, 26, coming in fifth and Mazdzer, 29, finishing in eighth.
West is ranked No. 18 overall to lead the U.S. men. Earlier this year, he clocked the fastest start in a World Cup race on the course in PyeongChang. In 2016, he won World Cup gold medals in Lake Placid and in Whistler, British Columbia.
West finished 22nd in Sochi.
Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman make up one of the two U.S. doubles teams heading to Pyeongchang, with Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk making up the other team.
For women, Erin Hamlin, Summer Britcher and Emily Sweeney will represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games in February.
West rode a wave of popularity during the Olympic games in Sochi. In an interview on "Today" back in 2014, his father, Brett, declared Tucker was "very single," prompting everything from marriage proposals to prom invitations. (FYI: Tucker now dates another U.S. luge team member.)
He and his dad appeared together again on 'Today" after that. Tucker said, "It's the nature of every parent to embarrass their child, and he took the cake on this one this year."
And the story of the family's homemade luge track — where West got his start — has gained national attention.
Brett West built the course in 2003, inspired by the lugers in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The top of the course is known as "Tucker's Tower."
In 2015, after the course was restored, the West family invited the public to try luging on the course and huge crowds turned out.
"It was pretty cool," said 11-year-old visitor. "It would be a dream to have this in my backyard one day. It's way better than a water slide."
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