Rancho Santa Fe resident’s grandchild earns spot on Luge Junior Olympic team

Joan Kemper — USA Luge Practice Run. Lake Placid, NY. Photo courtesy of Lucy Kemper

Leading a balanced life is paying off for 14-year-old Edgebrook, Ill., native Joan Kemper, granddaughter of RSF resident Joan Kemper-Sealy.

This summer, Kemper learned she had earned a spot on the USA Luge Junior Olympic National “D” Team. Her introduction to luge began when her father, Bo Kemper, spotted an article in the Chicago Tribune inviting young people to a “slider search.”

Along with thousands of other young hopefuls nationwide, Kemper gave sliding a go, and was subsequently selected for an additional screening in Muskegon, Mich.

Now, she is among only two dozen teen athletes who have been selected for the U.S. development team. She will spend eight weeks this winter at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., working with USA Luge Association coaches and teammates to further develop her talent, and practice racing at the Olympic Sports Complex.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” said Joan. “I’m looking forward to this extraordinary experience of being part of the U.S. Junior Olympic Team and the opportunity to represent our country. I cannot wait to get started training.”

Kemper’s unexpected discovery of luge is an experience shared by many USA luge athletes, who were also brought into the sport through a similar “slider search.”

Although luge is known as “the fastest sport on ice,” it requires years of training and development. Erin Hamlin, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in the women’s single luge, first participated in the sport at a “slider search” 15 years ago.

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