US Soldiers in the Luge Event During Winter Olympics

By Faye Higbee

Sgt Matthew Mortenson loves to get that adrenaline rush from speeding down an icy tube called the Luge. He’s an engineer by trade, but he’s also an engineer in New York Army National Guard’s 1156th Engineer Company. He and his men’s doubles partner competed in the Winter Olympics, competing in the Luge event along with Sgt Emily Sweeney, and Sgt. Taylor Morris.

Sgt Mortenson qualified for his third Olympics with his men’s doubles partner Jayson Terdiman.

“My favorite part of going down the actual track is the adrenaline I get before each run. It’s a little bit of nerves and a little bit of adrenaline, and I feed off it. I love that feeling.” Sgt Matt Mortenson

He originally joined the military to give him something to aim for when he was no longer an athlete- he had been luging since he was 12.

“I got into the World Class Athlete Program, and by being in that program, it allowed me to be an athlete and be a soldier at the same time, which is awesome.

Even though the team came in 10th overall in the event, for them it was a “great honor” to be chosen to represent the United States in the games.

“Going to the Olympics is special. Going to the Olympics and representing your country as an athlete and soldier is very special – not a lot of people get to say they can do that. These are all types of memories I can carry with me for my entire life, something that I’ll always cherish.” Sgt Mortenson

Emily Sweeney did not finish in the Women’s Singles Luge. Taylor Morris came in 18th in the Men’s Singles luge event.

Even though they didn’t win, these soldiers tried. Representing America is a big deal, even if no medals are awarded.

Featured photo: Staff Sgt. Matt Mortensen takes off from the start line during a practice run at the 2017 World Cup competition at Lake Placid, New York. Mortensen, a World Class Athlete, qualified for his third Olympics. U.S. Army photo by Joe Lacdan