West begins Olympic medal quest in PyeongChang

Four years after he finished 22nd — as an 18-year-old — in Sochi, Russia, Ridgefield native Tucker West looks to have a more realistic chance at an Olympic medal in South Korea.

Now 22, West has established himself as one of the world’s top-10 competitors in the men’s singles luge event entering the 2018 Winter Olympics, which began yesterday in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Following six training runs (completed Friday), West and the rest of the field will have four official runs. The medal winners are determined based on the fastest combined times from those four runs.

The first two men’s singles luge runs will be live streamed Saturday (Feb. 10) between 5:10 and 8:20 a.m. on NBCOlympics.com and then shown pre-recorded from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on NBCSN and 3 to 6 p.m. on NBC.

NBCOlympics.com will then live stream the final two men’s singles runs on Sunday (Feb. 11) from 6 to 8:45 a.m. Pre-recorded coverage airs later that day on NBCSN (1:30-5:30 p.m.) and on NBC (7 to 11 p.m.).

In Ridgefield, viewers can watch West compete Saturday afternoon via a video stream that will be broadcast at Tigers’ Den on Catoonah Street.

West, who got his start on a homemade luge course in the backyard of his family’s Ridgefield house, was one of 10 competitors (seven men, three women) chosen to the U.S. squad following a World Cup race in December at Lake Placid, N.Y. 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, Russia, placing 22nd in the men’s singles event.

With 453 points, West enters the Olympics in 10th place overall in the 2017-18 World Cup men’s singles point standings. His best result came at the Lake Placid tour stop when he finished third and won a bronze medal.

During the 201-17 season, West won gold medals at tour stops in Lake Place and Whistler, British Columbia. He finished seventh overall in the point standings the past two seasons.

German Felix Loch, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, is the overwhelming favorite for the gold medal. Loch currently leads the World Cup standings with 923 points, 85 more than Austrian Wolfgang Kindl, who is the consensus choice for the silver medal.

Notes: If West is the fastest American during the men’s singles competition he will earn a spot on the USA team for the mixed relay, which takes place Feb. 15.

For all luge results, click here.

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games officially began with an opening ceremony Friday morning in South Korea. NBC will broadcast the ceremony tonight at 8 p.m.