Season of Improvements for Hamlin, Social Media
More often than not, for Erin Hamlin, there is a bright side. Be it an off run on a European luge track or a travel snafu, Hamlin maintains a proper perspective and sense of humor when things don’t always go right.
“It’s no fun to be negative and grumpy about it all,” she said. “It’s better to take something away from it, fix it and build it from there.”
Hamlin, who recently completed an improved season, brings the same attitude to social media. Not long ago, Hamlin jumped into Twitter and her voice rings upbeat even when limited by 140 characters.
On a return trip to the U.S. from Europe earlier this month, Hamlin arrived home before her sled, and the experience inspired a clever missive: “Apparently my sled was enjoying EU so much it decided to stay in Frankfurt…..#epicfail.” Hamlin (Twitter handle: @erinhamlin) recently also shared her excitement to see “The Lorax” and a view of a “colorful” car wash.
“It’s definitely one of the easiest ways to update people or give them a window into what my days are like,” said Hamlin, who also uses Facebook. “If there’s a situation I think goes well there, I’ll put it on there. For an athlete who needs sponsors and to get on the radar, it’s a cool way, and it’s a piece of cake.”
Compared to 2010-11, this winter was a piece of cake for Hamlin, who ended the year with her fifth-consecutive U.S. Championship and a return to the “consistency” she lacked the season before.
After starting last year with bronze medals in two of the first three
races, she struggled to get into the top 10 in the second half of the season.
Hamlin was in the top 10 in seven of nine races this year, including four sixth-place finishes. Skirting so close to the top 5 was among her frustrations, accented by the fact Hamlin knew she could run with the sliders ahead of her.
The season was made in the second-to-last race with a career-best and medal-performance in Latvia. Hamlin had not raced well there, but finished third to exorcise some demons.
“It’s a medal in season where I didn’t medal at all, and that’s good,” Hamlin said. “I started the season before with bronze, and I fell off the pace. It showed that I am on my way back up, I guess you could say. I hope it’s not a blip on radar.”
The result in Latvia might be the perfect example of how Hamlin has improved in three years, since a career-defining victory at the 2009 World Championships on her home track in Lake Placid. Hamlin, now 25, is better prepared to navigate tracks where she has less experience.
“She’s a more well-rounded slider; she understands other tracks better,” USA Luge National Team coach Mark Grimmette said. “This season, we fixed some things, and she’s comfortable on the sled again. Her knowledge and comfort level competing on other tracks has definitely improved. She did well in Lake Placid, and we’re working to carry that over to other tracks. And I think we’re accomplishing that pretty well.”
The Latvia result, then, couldn’t have come at a better time. Earning a place on the medal stand stirs the desire to return, and Hamlin easily finds her way back on the path to the power of positive thinking – driven by another offseason of training in Lake Placid.
“Once you’re on the podium, you want to get back. I’m happy with the top five and being right outside of it. The way I was sliding at the end of the season, I think I’ll be back on the podium.”