Training pays off as USA bags Gold in Luge Mixed Team Relay

A rigorous training regime paid dividends as Team USA won the Gold medal in the Luge Mixed Team Relay event at the Olympic Sliding Centre Innsbruck on Tuesday.

The USA was not heavily favoured coming into the Luge competition at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, but won the relay event in a time of 2 minutes, 18.310 seconds, with Germany grabbing Silver in 2:18.708 and Austria taking the Bronze medal in 2:18.863.

The United States' sliders had gone through weeks of repetitive training sessions in a bid to master Luge Relay's difficult gate system, which requires one racer to slap a lever at the bottom of the course to open their teammate's starting gate at the top of the track.

And it paid off in some style at the Igls track.

"We all did great with the gate," Tucker West said. "We opened up real quick, our start times were all fast and everyone had awesome runs. It was great."

Teamwork did the rest, according to Summer Britcher, who revealed she has spent plenty of time bonding with the three male athletes who, along with her, make up the US Luge Relay Team at Innsbruck 2012.

"I like them, sometimes," Summer said with a laugh. "They're like my family. There's good and bad to it when you live with people, but overall yeah, I like them."

The team embraced arm in arm in the finish area as they were congratulated by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

The Relay Gold is a huge achievement for the USA Lugers but Tuesday's success looks like marking the end for one key component of their Youth Olympic Games Luge team.