Ridgefield's Tucker West named to U.S. Olympic luge team

Start planning the viewing parties.

For the second straight Winter Olympics, Ridgefielders will be able to cheer on Tucker West.

West, who got his start on a homemade course in the backyard of his family's Ridgefield house, was officially named to the U.S. Olympic luge team today for the upcoming 2018 Winter Games (Feb. 9-25) in South Korea. West was one of 10 competitors (seven men, three women) chosen to the U.S. squad following a World Cup race Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The 22-year-old West joins Chris Mazdzer and Taylor Morris on the singles team for the Americans, who are looking for their first individual men's medal in Olympic luge.

West became the youngest man ever to represent the U.S. in luge when he competed at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Japan. He finished 22nd in the men's singles event.

West, Mazdzer and Morris secured their Olympic nominations by virtue of their results this season. West and Morris earned Tier A status in the Olympic selection procedures with their third and fifth-place finishes, respectively, at Friday's World Cup race in Lake Placid. Mazdzer, who was eighth in Friday's men's singles race, had earned Tier C status based on finishes from previous World Cup events.

“It’s a huge weight off of our shoulders,” West told Team USA.org reporter Peggy Shinn following Friday's World Cup race. “These were normal World Cup races these last five races, but having that extra stress of trying to qualify for an Olympic team, after you put so much work into it for four years, it’s definitely a burden.”

West won the first run in Friday's men's singles race, briefly breaking his track record. He then held on for third place in his second run, clocking a two-run total time of 1:42.132.

It was West's first medal in six World Cup events this season. Last year, West won gold medals at tour stops in Lake Place and Whistler, British Columbia.

Russians Roman Repilov and Semen Pavlichenko finished first and second, respectively, in times of 1:41.874 and 1:41.938. On his second run, Repilov lowered West’s track record by another 0.029 seconds.

With his third-place finish Friday, West moved up to 11th in the World Cup men's singles standings with 196 points. He finished seventh in the standings the past two seasons.