Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Long Run

Tucker West’s road to the Olympics



Photo above by Daniel Hurlimann

When Brett West took to the skies in his motorized parachute on a picturesque day last fall, he did so for more than the sweeping views of the Adirondacks, where the 52-year-old entrepreneur has a lakefront home. It was, for West, the perfect vantage point to capture people’s attention and explain how his 22-year-old son can make a repeat trip to the winter Olympics, on the luge team.

“The Olympic trials take place at the World Cup that starts in November,” explained the Ridgefield father of three in a video posted to the “Team Tucker” Facebook page. “While Tucker and his teammates will be racing against the best in the world for the World Cup, it will be a race within a race. Because depending on how each does in those five races, the top three American men will make the American team.” 

By virtue of strong finishes in the World Cup, son Tucker did go to the Olympic Games in South Korea and raced on February 10 and 11. In the luge competition, racers travel at speeds around 80 mph down labyrinthine sheets of silken ice, guided by only the subtlest movements of their hands and feet. Tucker learned the niche sport of luge, as a kid, in his own West Mountain Road backyard by sliding down an 800-foot long, homemade track.

(Photo: In 2002, Brett West built an 800-foot luge run at the family’s West Mountain Road home, replete with ice-making, a sound system, lights, and timing.)

Then at age 18, in 2014, West became the youngest man in American history to qualify for the Olympics in luge.

Now he’s a sports celebrity—and a great social-media follow. His Instagram feed @tuckerwest1 chronicles the itinerant life of an elite luger. On it, followers can see West racing down a snow-covered mountain in Vancouver, lifting giant weights at a training center in Colorado Springs, being photographed on a throne for NBC’s Olympic television coverage in Hollywood, hanging out with swans in scenic Prague, and eating schnitzel the size of a steering wheel in Vienna. NBC featured Tucker in promotional commercials for the Olympics, he’s made an appearance on “Sesame Street,” and has been the feature of numerous national media stories. Through a few taps of a smartphone, West’s fans can come along on his storied journey.

It’s also the way that this globetrotter stays connected to his roots back home. “Ridgefield’s incredible,” Tucker told me when we talked in Lake Placid, where he moved in ninth grade to pursue his athletic passion. “The town’s support is so heartfelt and warm.”

West spends around nine months a year in Lake Placid, consumed by a sport most Americans see but every four years. That has never diminished the 22-year-old’s unwavering focus or commitment. 

Each morning, with the sky still black and the weather blistering cold, West takes practice runs down the 1.3-kilometer-long, 19-curve luge track on Mount Van Hoevenberg. When it’s too warm to slide outside, he practices his starts on ice ramps in a refrigerated room inside the headquarters of the United States Luge Association. He then works on his sled, filing his steels down to the millimeter to try and gain even the slightest edge over his competition. In the afternoons, he lifts weights and maintains a regimented diet and fitness programs. He does it all to make the most of any opportunity that may come his way.

One such opportunity came in the 2014 Olympics, when he finished 22nd among a field of established racers in Sochi, Russia. It was clear that the 18-year-old wouldn’t just be a medal contender at the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but at many Winter Games to come. “I really felt the whole town behind me,” Tucker says about his first Olympic experience, which included an appearance on “Today,” with his dad—who let girls everywhere know that his son was available. 

Tucker took away plenty from Sochi. He earned valuable experience that lugers typically receive at a later age. He saw a new part of the world (“One of the best venues I’ve ever been to.”) and made lasting memories—he was one of the lucky few to witness the thrilling, eight-round U.S.-Russia hockey shootout in person. He even took the name of the coastal city for his family’s English mastiff. But most importantly, West came away from the 2014 Olympics assured of his skill, and with the confidence that he could harness it on the biggest stage.

“At the time, it was more of a race to make the Olympic team for me than to race and do well at the Olympics,” he says. “I was one of the youngest, an underdog coming up. Now that I’ve had the taste of success, it’s still going to be hard. But I’m going to be looking for better results than I achieved in Sochi.”

Later that same year, West won his first World Cup event in Lake Placid, setting a track record in the process. Two years later, he won back-to-back gold medals on the circuit, in Lake Placid and in Calgary. While many were thinking of the future, West—the United States’ best hope, in the short and long term, for an elusive Olympic gold in luge—remained in the moment. “The goal is just to continue this momentum,” West told me after capturing his second title on his home track in 2016.

Tucker West competes on February 10 and February 11. “The Olympic season is exciting, stressful, exhausting and just about every other emotion in the book,” West says, “but this is what we live for!”


DON’T BLINK Luge races are timed to the thousandth of a second. “Faster than you can blink,” says West, who in one World Cup trailed by .001 at the final split before getting the win.

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

TownVibe Green Awards 2018

Face Value

Rediscovering local community in the digital age

Ridgefield Out & About - Apr/May/June

Art: When the King Comes to Town

Special screening with the director of "Elvis Presley: The Searcher" –– May 24

Tiger's Eye

Tiger's Den Bar & Grill serves popular comfort-foods with an occasional twist

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2018

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Earth Day with The Wildlife Line FREE admission ~ You’re invited, to come and celebrate ( : Sunday April 22nd, from 11-4, at beautiful Harrybrooke Park, in New Milford, CT. Live...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Harrybrooke Park
100 Still River Drive
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Harrybrooke Park
Telephone: 860-799-6520
Contact Name: Billy Buckbee
Website »

More information

Registration Closes: Friday, April 13th Jenna graduated from F.I.T with a degree in Fashion Design. She started her career working for the high-end Accessory Brand, Isabella Fiore and later moved...

Cost: $155.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

​NEWDAA, the North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance, hosts its annual Interfaith Service this year in Katonah.  Join community members, local clergy and government representatives...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Katonah United Methodist Church
5 Bedford Road
Katonah, NY
View map »


Sponsor: NEWDAA
Telephone: 203-356-5405
Contact Name: Patti D'Agostino
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

ENTRY DEADLINE: February 24, 2018 The area’s hottest musical competition known as BandJam 2018 will bring eight high-octane bands to compete at The Ridgefield Playhouse!  A panel of...

Cost: $20

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE ROAD
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about building structures resistant to earthquakes with toothpicks and marshmallows Tuesday, April 24th from 4-5 PM For kids in grade 1-3 Registration is required To register,...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Wednesday April 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. join us for a leisurely stroll down our stream-side trail in memory of one of our founding Board members, Helen Hermes, to discover some of her...

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Join Grace Farms Foundation and New Canaan Library for an insightful conversation about global policy and America’s potential for growth and leadership with retired United States Army General...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Thursday April 26, 6-9PM Gallo Ristorante, 5 Grove Street, Ridgefield Guest Bartenders from the Ridgefield Rotary Club: Robert Herber, Rainer Gonet, Kristina Kelly,  Ralph...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gallo Restaurant
5 Grove St.
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-431-7726
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill  celebrates "Music of Scandinavia" in a concert combining the Festival Chorus and professional Chamber Chorus, led by Artistic Director David H. Connell....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Ages: K-5 Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 25th In this workshop, Lil’ Dreamers will have a ton of fun learning marbling techniques while creating their own unique papers.  Each artist...

Cost: $30.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday April 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. veteran fly-tier New Pond Farm Program Director Tim Laughlin, would like to introduce you to the art of fly tying. Learn to tie a “Woolly...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member child, $20 per non-member child

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Norwalk Now Presents a City-Wide Adventure NORWALK CITY HUNT Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM, After Party 1-3 PM Norwalk Now presents Norwalk City Hunt, an...

Cost: $40

Where:
93 N Main St
norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Now
Telephone: 203-561-9878
Contact Name: Linda Kavanagh
Website »

More information

Learn how you can transform your yard into an outdoor living OASIS! Vendors of the latest and greatest outdoor living products will be onsite Saturday, April 28th at Ridgefield Supply to answer...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Ridgefield Supply
29 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877-0519
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-2626
Contact Name: Krystal Lugo
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

“Glorious,” raved the New York Times when Joyce DiDonato sang the title role of Cendrillon at the Royal Opera in 2011. “Her performance was thoroughly...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturday April 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. join New Pond Farm Program Director, Tim Laughlin, and learn how to fly cast. Fly-fishing is becoming a very popular sport for ladies. Once you learn the...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member and $20 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 Rated PG Open to everyone, no registration required For questions, please call the library at 914-669-5161 or email at keelerlibrary@wlsmail.org To learn...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Library's 2018 Great Expectations Gala will honor The Couri Family - John and Elaine Couri and Chris and Megan Couri with the Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award for their many...

Cost: $250

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282 X11029
Contact Name: Laureen Bubniak
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Livingston Taylor is part of musical royalty – with James Taylor as his brother and Ben Taylor as his nephew, Livingston lives up to the Taylor name and more! From Top-40 Hits: “I Will...

Cost: $75

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE ROAD
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County to Honor Margaret Keane at Benefit Concert Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County (CLC) will honor Synchrony Financial CEO...

Cost: $55

Where:
Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Telephone: 203-653-1369
Contact Name: Mike
Website »

More information

Ability Beyond's signature annual black-tie “Masquerade Gala" fundraiser seeks to unmask the ability in everyone. The elegant evening will feature both...

Cost: Individual tickets are $250

Where:
Amber Room Colonnade
1 Stacey Rd
Danbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Ability Beyond
Telephone: 203-826-3183
Contact Name: Kelsey Rondeau
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags