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La Cañada's Kate Hansen slides into 10th at first day of Olympic competition

Luge: Spartans' alumna is "having so much fun" through her first two runs in Sochi.

February 10, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

If there was a statement to be made by La Cañada Flintridge resident Kate Hansen on the inaugural day of her first-ever Olympic competition, perhaps it’s that the 21-year-old was at the XXII Winter Games to both compete and have a good time.

PHOTOS: Local Olympian Kate Hansen's first luge runs celebrated in La Canada 

The La Cañada High alumna finished 10th after the first day of the two-day-long women’s singles luge competition held at the Sanki Olympic Sliding Center in Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia, and perhaps is known as much for her accomplishments on the track as for her dancing exploits off the sled.

Hansen completed two runs Monday morning and is slated for two more races Tuesday, with the first taking place shortly after 6:30 a.m. (PST) and the final beginning roughly at 8:20 (PST).

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Hansen described her Olympic experience as “an absolute dream” in a televised interview with NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson shortly after she finished competition Monday.

“I’m having so much fun, probably the most fun I’ve ever had sliding,” Hansen said in the interview. “So, I’m just stoked to be here. I’m glad that I had two pretty clean runs, so I’m just happy.”

Those comments came shortly before Hansen asked Johnson to “drop me a beat” on the NBC Sports Network to which Hansen freestyled before the camera went to a commercial.

As for Hansen’s electric slide on the track, the American posted a two-run total time of 1 minute, 41.375 seconds, which is slightly behind Switzerland’s Martina Kocher (1:41.014) for ninth and a little less than two seconds off the pace of leader and event favorite Natalie Geisenberger (1:39.814) of Germany.

Hansen began the day by racing to a mark of 50.794 in her first run as she was the third competitor overall to fly down the track behind Russia’s Ekaterina Baturina and Geisenberger.

Hansen had a front view of the German, who turned in a magnificent effort in setting a track record time on 49.891 in 41-degree weather at the Alpika Ski Resort, located about 30 miles away from Sochi.

In her second attempt, which took place about two hours after her first try, Hansen performed even better, hitting a top speed of 81.9 miles per hour and shaving just a little over two-tenths of a second off her previous mark with a run time of 50.581.

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