Jan 24, 2022 - Sports

Emily Sweeney looks for 1st luge medal after 2018 crash

Emily Sweeney during the 2021 Luge World Championships. Photo: Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

After breaking her neck and back in a frightening crash in her debut at the Pyeongchang Olympics, 29-year-old luger Emily Sweeney returns to the Games.

The big picture: Sweeney said getting back on the sled "took everything" she had, but 11 months after the crash, she earned a bronze medal at the World Championships. Now in Beijing, she's searching for her first Olympic medal.

  • Sweeney's older sister, Megan, was also an Olympic luger, competing for Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
  • Emily joined the Army in 2011 and is part of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, which allows soldiers to participate in the Olympics while also serving their country.

The event: Lugers lie on their backs and steer their sleds with their legs and shoulders while racing down the track at upwards of 90 mph. There are four events: singles (men's and women's), doubles and team relay.

  • Team USA has won six medals in luge — three silver and three bronze — since its debut at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
  • Germany has dominated the competition, winning 81 of 141 possible medals, including 34 of 49 possible golds.

Go deeper: USA Luge's long, winding road to Beijing (ABC News)

Go deeper