American luger's golden hopes guided by an 800 foot backyard track

Dreams go hand-in-hand with the Olympics. And when you add passion and a handyman dad - there are no limits to achieving that dream.

When your dream is to be an Olympian, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. That’s exactly what Tucker West did to become a member of the U.S. Luge team. 

While watching the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City – West was mesmerized with the danger, the power and speed of luge. 

So, he and his dad headed outside. They carved a path in the snow, watered it down and grabbed sled.

That did the trick, but only for a little while.  Tucker wanted much more. 

"In Connecticut, we have warm days in the winter from time to time so that would melt down," West explained. "My dad would get frustrated having to rebuild it and wait for the snow. So, he had this crazy idea of building our own luge track in our backyard out of wood."

Over the course of a few months, the father-son duo built a homemade luge that in their backyard that’s still there today. 

You can’t miss it.

The homemade track is 800 feet long and Tucker reached speeds of up to 30 miles an hour as a kid.

Now, Tucker can hit speeds up to 90 miles an hour – he loves the precision and the rush of sliding with only four inches separating him from a sheet of ice. 

"You’re kinda in the zone when you’re going down the track but as soon as you’re down with it you look back and you’re like holy crap what did I just do?  That’s when the adrenaline hits you, it’s a lot of fun," West described. 

West finished 22nd in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. 

Now, this 22-year old is determined to win and make history by giving the United States its first gold medal ever in luge.

And when Tucker West stands on the podium, he’ll think back to when his dream first began - in his Connecticut backyard with his dad when his love for the sports of luge started.



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