DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — They walked away from the luge track one after the next, the three leading women of American luge, each disappointed and shaken in her own way. The one who finished in 19th place said her performance was “incredibly devastating.” The one who finished sixth, in the final Olympic race of her career, said she just wanted to go to bed and sleep. The one who crashed, caromed and didn’t finish the race was the luger most upset of all, evaluated by doctors who detected neither head trauma nor broken bones, but crying nonetheless.
It was Emily Sweeney’s injury that cast a pall over this race, a reminder of what can happen on an ice track when going 80 mph. Halfway through the course, near the ninth turn, she skidded and lost control. Her body ping-ponged through several more turns. She flew off her sled and fell backward. Officials rushed over with a stretcher. But Sweeney hobbled away on her own.
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“I’m fine,” she said 20 minutes later, wiping tears, telling the half-dozen people around her that she didn’t want to go to the hospital. A USA Luge official said she was taken to a clinic at the Olympic Village for evaluation.