Julia Clukey was recently named to the U.S. national luge team. We’ll find out soon if she actually will compete.

Clukey, the Augusta native and Olympic luger, will hold a press conference at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at her summer camp in Readfield to announce her career plans. Those closest to Clukey are keeping her news secret.

“We’ll let Julia make the announcement,” said Gordy Sheer, the director of marketing for U.S. Luge.

Clukey, 29, missed qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, by .013 seconds. Needing to finish in the top five in the final World Cup qualifying race in Park City, Utah, Clukey finished sixth.

She finished 17th in the luge in the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 and was considered the top American female luger entering the 2013-14 season. She entered it ranked sixth in the world after two second-place finishes on the World Cup circuit in 2012-13.

But she got off to a slow start, finishing 19th, 12th and 13th in her first three World Cup races, and never recovered.

After returning home to Augusta last December, Clukey said she would take time to consider whether she would try to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“I’m very fortunate to have spent the last 15 years doing something I love,” said Clukey. “I’m thankful for the balance in my life where I can pour my energy into different venues. When the day comes to make that decision, I’ll be ready to make it and I’ll know very strongly one way or another. In the sport of luge, you take it one year at a time.

“Every year’s a big commitment, let alone four.”

At the time, her sister, Amelia, said she believed Clukey would return. “She’ll be ready to go,” she said last December. “She’ll still train and be ready to go next year.”

Clukey, who is an athlete representative on the U.S. Luge board of directors, did get back on the luge in March, winning the gold medal in the national seeding races. Last month she was named to the U.S. national team that will compete in the World Cup. She’ll be joined by Erin Hamlin, 27, who won the bronze medal at Sochi; Summer Britcher, 20, who finished 15th; and Emily Sweeney, 21, a Portland native living in Suffield, Connecticut. Kate Hansen, who finished 10th in Sochi, is taking a year off to study at Brigham Young University.

Team race-offs will be held in October to determine who will compete in the fall World Cup races, although Clukey and Hamlin are guaranteed spots based on their international results the last two years.

Clukey’s age likely wouldn’t be a factor in whether she decides to continue sliding or not.

“Luge is an experienced-based sport,” she said in December. “Ideally, the more runs you make the better you get.”

Mark Grimmette, the program director at U.S. Luge, said after Clukey failed to quality for the Olympics that she would always be welcomed back to the program.

“She’s definitely a dedicated, devoted athlete,” he said at the time. “If she wants to continue sliding, the coaching staff would love to work with her.”


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