Union student claims spot on U.S. Olympic luge team
Seven of 10 spots decided on final day at Lake Placid
Taylor Morris' eyes filled with tears, for good reason.
For four years, he's carried around a burden. He missed qualifying for the 2014 Olympic team by a ridiculously small sliver of time — four one-thousandths of a second. And over those four years, he's dealt with injuries and plenty of doubt.
He's finally an Olympian.
Morris claimed one of the 10 spots on the U.S. Olympic luge team for the Pyeongchang Games on Friday, making him one of four first-timers on the roster. He did it in style, too, by getting a fifth-place finish in a World Cup race on the Americans' home track in Lake Placid — more than enough to clinch that berth that eluded him four years ago.
"It's a long time coming," Morris said, struggling to get words out through his emotions. "My family's out here, my wife's out here, she came out from Salt Lake. It means the world to me to have them here. It's as much of a burden on me as it is for my family. They put as much effort into this as anybody else, so I'm really excited to bring this victory to my family and my friends and the community back home."
In all, seven of the 10 spots came down to the final day of competition in a weeks-long process to make the team.
Olympic veterans Tucker West — who is a student at Union College in Schenectady — and Chris Mazdzer will join Morris on the men's team headed to Pyeongchang. Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman are one of the two U.S. doubles teams heading to the Pyeongchang Games, while Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk grabbed the other spot.
West, now 22 years old, was the youngest member of the US Olympic luge team during the Sochi winter games in 2014. Click through the slideshow above to see photos of West competing.
The women's luge spots were already decided, with 2014 bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, Summer Britcher and Emily Sweeney representing the U.S. Hamlin clinched her spot last month, and Britcher and Sweeney got theirs on Thursday night without even racing — they got locked into berths when Raychel Germaine, the only other U.S. woman who could have caught them, failed to qualify for Saturday's women's World Cup race.