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La Cañada's Kate Hansen accomplishes goal of taking 10th at Olympics

Luge: Strong last run on Tuesday evening propelled 21-year-old to finish.

February 11, 2014|By Andrew Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • A view of Kate Hansen as she walks off the tracks in Sochi, Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Hansen, a La Cañada resident, placed 10th in the competition.
A view of Kate Hansen as she walks off the tracks in Sochi,…

A dream realized and a goal accomplished, La Cañada Flintridge resident Kate Hansen certainly made the most of her first-ever trip to the Winter Olympics.

PHOTOS: Fans cheer on local Olympian Kate Hansen at Los Gringos Locos

The 21-year-old, who earlier stated that one of her goals was a top-10 finish, did just that, taking 10th overall in the women’s singles luge competition at the XII Winter Olympics thanks in part to a strong close on her final run Tuesday evening at the Sanki Olympic Sliding Center in Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia, which is located 30 miles from Sochi.

Hansen started fast on her fourth and last run of the competition, recovering from just clipping the ice on her third run earlier in the day, by posting her personal Olympic-best time of 50.499 seconds.

All four of runs from Monday and Tuesday combined for Hansen’s cumulative time of 3 minutes, 22.667 seconds, which secured 10th place, just ahead of Russia’s Ekaterina Baturina (3:22.731) and not far from ninth-place Martina Kocher (3:22.166) of Switzerland.

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Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger, the reigning world champion and the event’s favorite, won the gold in 3:19.768, while American veteran Erin Hamlin also made history.

The 27-year-old Hamlin finished third in 3:21.145 and secured the bronze, the inaugural medal for the U.S. women’s luge program and the first singles luge medal, whether male or female, in American history.

As for Hansen, the 2010 La Cañada High alumna entered Tuesday’s final day in 10th place, but her grip on the position loosened a bit when she brushed the wall on an early turn and finished with a time of 29.707 through the halfway point, her worst midway mark of the Games.

Yet, Hansen recovered to finish in 50.793, which was a hair better than her time of 50.794 earned in Monday’s first run, but over two-tenths of a second slower than Monday’s top time of 50.581, which was earned on her second run.

“I’m having so much fun, probably the most fun I’ve ever had sliding,” Hansen said in an interview with the NBC Sports Network on Monday following her first two runs. “So, I’m just stoked to be here. I’m glad that I had two pretty clean runs, so I’m just happy.”

Of course, expectations varied for Hansen entering the Winter Games.

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