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
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…