The youngest man to ever compete on the U.S. Olympic Luge Team is one of Connecticut’s own – Tucker West hails from Ridgefield and grew up practicing in his own backyard.
At just 18 years old, West is realizing his dream. He and his father, Brett, built a luge course at their Ridgefield home when Tucker was 6 or 7 years old. He fell in love with the sport and has been hooked ever since.
“It was definitely the talk of the town at the time,” Tucker West said. “Baseball, football, lacrosse, they were all big sports over here. But there was this kid over in West Mountain doing the luge and everyone thought it was super cool.”
Tucker West moved to Lake Placid to attend the National Sports Academy after eighth grade, where he trains year round for between 5 and 8 hours per day. Brett said it’s been tough to be so far away from Tucker all the time, and they’re concerned he’s too young for such a grueling competition.
“Tucker is a young prodigy, and he shouldn’t be at this Olympics,” said Brett West. “He’s too young. He hasn’t been in the sport long enough.”
But the family is proud and supports him in accomplishing his goals. Brett West said Tucker will be happy with a top-10 finish in Sochi.
“I don’t care what he gets,” Brett West said. “He’s there.”
The Ridgefield community has rallied behind Tucker, and the athlete said it’s made all the difference.
“The love’s there and I’m really grateful for it,” he said.
He’ll compete in Sochi the weekend of Feb. 8. The West family will be joining him in Russia to cheer him on.
“I’ve been dreaming this ever since I was young enough [sic] to know what the Olympics were,” said Tucker West. “To finally make it here, it’s really surreal.”