LILLEHAMMER, Norway — Augusta native Julia Clukey is among a group of six Americans who began on-ice training Friday in Lillehammer.

Many international teams are in Norway to take advantage of early-season ice. USA Luge’s home base in Lake Placid, New York, is not scheduled to open for sliding until Oct. 18.

The American contingent plans to train in Norway until Oct. 12. It is scheduled to compete in the Lillehammer Cup on Oct. 11, a preseason race before the start of the World Cup schedule.

“I know that Norway tries hard to get the ice ready,” Clukey said. “I’ll be trying to get a good rhythm for the World Cup season. Sliding is something I love to do and it’s a bonus to be able to do it.”

Also representing USA Luge in Norway for the next week or so: Erin Hamlin, Chris Mazdzer, Tucker West and the newly assembled doubles team of Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman, both of whom worked with other sledmates in the past.

For Erin Hamlin, a quest for another Olympic medal is officially underway.


Hamlin had not been down a track since her bronze-medal-clinching run at the Sochi Games in February.

“I want to get comfortable on the sled again and get back into it,” said Hamlin, the 2009 world champion and the first American to win a singles luge medal at an Olympics. “I want to have fun. The ‘having fun’ mindset worked for me in Sochi.”

Clukey competed in the Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010. She finished 17th in the luge at 2010 Vancouver Games.

Now, she looks to rebound after a tough winter last year in which she fell just short of making a return trip to the Olympics.

Clukey needed a top-five finish at the World Cup last December in Park City, Utah, to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. However, she finished sixth by less than a tenth of a second.

She posted an aggregate time of 1:28.03 with seven sleds remaining in the competition, but Dajana Eitberger of Germany, Kate Hansen of the United States and Natalie Geinsenberger of Germany surged ahead to bump Clukey to sixth.

Clukey, who recently was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, announced at her summer camp for girls on Maranacook Lake last June that she would compete on the World Cup tour for at least one more season.

“I’m ready to get back into the swing of things,” Clukey said at the time. “At this time, a one-year commitment is very comfortable for me.”

USA Luge’s national championships are in Lake Placid from Nov. 1-2.

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