Third time is a charm for Olympic luger Matt Mortensen

luge mortensen
Matt Mortensen (R.) said he didn’t have Olympic dreams until he started luging at the age of 10.
Credit: USA Luge

Matt Mortensen, 28, had no idea what luge was until he showed up for a tryout at the age of 10.

“My dad works for Verizon and at the time, they were the main sponsor of the sport, so they’d been doing radio ads and posting flyers,” he explained. “He asked my brothers and me if we wanted to go to the tryouts – just for fun.”

Mortensen, who is from Huntington Station, N.Y., went with his family to SUNY College at Old Westbury for a tryout.

“We really just showed up and took instructions from people that were there,” he said. “There were wheeled luge sleds and the guys there were all former athletes or current athletes who taught us how to steer … By the end of the day, you’re going in and out of cones on the road and doing agility tests.”

Mortensen said he immediately took a liking to the sport and he admired the athletes he met at the tryouts. “These guys had been to the Olympics and it really fascinated me,” he said. “I knew that the wheeled portion of it was just the first part and I really wanted to make it on the ice.” Once he tried luging on ice, he was “pretty much hooked,” he said.

The third time was a charm for Mortensen, who got cut the first two tryouts from the junior national luge team, but said the rejections didn’t bother him.

“I hadn’t had too much invested in the sport by then – I did a wheeled clinic a couple of hours on Saturdays and it was just a lot of fun for me to do,” he said.

Surprisingly, Mortensen said he did not have Olympic ambitions until he started luging. “I played soccer, baseball and basketball but I never had any thoughts about the Olympics until I came in contact with the sport and started competing internationally,” he said. “Then the Olympics became the only thing I ever wanted.”

Mortensen narrowly missed making the 2010 Olympics. “We lost by just a tenth of a second,” he said. “That was a heartbreaker.” This was his third attempt to make it to the games.

“It was really relieving to know I finally accomplished something I’ve been trying to do for a long time,” he said. “My teammates and I worked hard the past couple of years to prepare and I feel that we’re very ready for it.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…