Team USA’s Women’s Luge Team Bios
Julia Clukely, Birthdate: April 29, 1985, Birthplace: Augusta, ME
At her first ever World Championships in 2007 in Igls, Austria, Clukey placed eighth in women’s singles. Two years later in Lake Placid, she earned a career-best fifth spot, and was the only other American to finish in the top five, with teammate Erin Hamlin taking first.
The Augusta, Maine native enjoys tennis, skiing, the outdoors, music, and following the stock market. She has two sisters, Amelia and Olivia. Clukey is currently studying civil engineering at the University of Maine, in Orono, which is about 83 miles outside of Augusta. Upon completing her luge career, Clukey hopes to compete in marathons.
Erin Hamlin, Birthdate: Nov. 19, 1986, Birthplace: New Hartford, NY
Erin Hamlin accomplished the nearly impossible at the 2009 Worlds, snapping a 99 consecutive international winning streak by the Germans and winning the world title. Hamlin’s world title came on the same Lake Placid track on which her luge career began.
Her father’s employer, Verizon, sponsors luge tryouts across the country so it was natural for Erin and her older brother, both of whom excelled in a variety of sports, to tryout. Erin worked her way up through the developmental program, eventually living and training full-time in Lake Placid, faxing and emailing her schoolwork back to her high school.
In the final event of the qualifying period for the U.S. team in 2006, Hamlin, then 19, finished fifth to earn a spot on the team. Neither she nor her Olympic Training Center roommate was expected to post top-five results in World Cup competition, but Hamlin surprised even herself by qualifying for the team.
Megan Sweeney, Birthdate: Feb. 17, 1987, Birthplace: Portland, ME
Hailing from Suffield, Conn., Megan Sweeney was first introduced to luge when attending a Verizon Slider Search in her dad’s hometown of Saranac Lake, N.Y. But it wasn’t until a second try at another camp while vacationing in South Carolina that Sweeney finally made the U.S. junior team.
Sweeney says her love of speed initially attracted her to the sport: “It was something different — something where you could say, ‘Oh yeah, I do luge,’ and people would say, ‘What? Crazy!’ And ask all the police out here, I love speed.”
In 2006, Sweeney won the overall bronze for the Junior World circuit. She is also a two-time Verizon U.S. Junior national champion (2006, 2007). During the 2008 World Championships in Oberhof, Germany, Sweeney finished 13th behind teammate Julia Clukey.