Women competed in the single luge event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi Tuesday. Among those representing the USA was southern Californian Kate Hansen of La Cañada.
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Hansen's father owns Los Gringos Tacos in La Cañada, and he's been posting updates on his daughter's progress to his restaurant's website. One thing we know about Hansen is her favorite way to warm up before a race: dancing to Beyoncé.
She was the national luge champion last year, and in 2008, she was the youngest junior world champion in the singles team relay at just 15.
Hansen finished the Olympic single luge competition in 10th place, but her teammate, Erin Hamlin, won bronze, making her the first American to win an Olympic medal in the sport. But failing to medal hasn't fazed Hansen at all. She took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us about her experience competing in Sochi and what she was doing when she heard her teammate had won a medal.
On her experience at Sochi so far:
"It's been pretty unbelievable to say the least. It's been my dream to come to the Olympics my entire life, so it's pretty surreal to be on the same level as these athletes that I'm meeting."
On whether she's worried about getting hurt doing luge:
"Honestly, I haven't. I actually broke my foot at the beginning of the season, before trials, and I got back on the slide two days later. At this point in my career it's just something that I do every day and even though I broke my foot I still showed up and ended up winning a race that weekend. So it's a pretty unbelievable thing. Part of the tragedy that happened in Vancouver, it's really unfortunate and really sad that it happened, but as far as the athletes go, no, we're not worried."
On whether she was nervous to compete:
"Honestly I wasn't that nervous. It's been such a long season for me and we race every weekend, so really it's just another race for me. It was against the same athletes that I've been competing against all year. So it really just felt like another weekend on the job. Honestly, sitting at the start I just had a huge smile on my face, I was so stoked to be representing my country at the Olympics, so I was all smiles."
On the moment when she hit the wall during a run:
"It could have ended up a lot worse, so I'm just grateful that I stayed in it. How could I not be enjoying this experience? This has been such a dream come true, so even if I had a bad run...how could I not enjoy what was going on around? I was just stoked to take every run."
On her teammate, Erin Hamlin, being the first U.S. woman to medal in luge:
"It was a big deal for us. When they have the flower ceremony after the run, I wasn't there, I was crying. She's one of my best friends and she deserves it all. She's one of the hardest working athletes I know and she is just amazing at what she does, so I could not be more happy for her."