Army MP recovers from ‘frightening’ luge accident to qualify for second Winter Olympics


Army Sergeant. Emily Sweeney receives congratulations after competing in a luge sprint race at the Lake Placid Olympic Center in New York City on Dec. 16, 2017. (Jennily Leon/US Army)

An army non-commissioned officer who broke his neck and back in a luge accident at the PyeongChang Olympics will slide again for his country at next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

sergeant. Emily Sweeney, 22, a military police soldier from Suffield, Conn., told the world about her selection in a video message posted on the Army’s World Class Athlete Program Facebook page on Friday.

“I just qualified for my second Olympic team,” Sweeney, who competed for South Korea’s luge team in 2018, said in the video. “I am truly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to represent the Army and Team USA at Beijing 2022.”

Toboggan athletes in aerodynamic suits glide down icy tracks on their backs at nearly 90 mph while controlling their sleds with their feet.

Sweeney’s first games ended with a “frightening” crash that left her face down for several minutes before she could cross the finish line, The Associated Press reported on Feb. 13, 2018.

It turned out that she had suffered a broken neck and back.

“It broke me in many ways. After that I was scared,” Sweeney said in an article posted on the International Olympic Committee website on November 25, 2021.

A member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, Sweeney lost 20 pounds as she recovered from the accident and was out of competition for nine months.

“I was lucky that I didn’t need any surgery or anything,” she said in the Olympic report. “But I was just really, and I mean, really, broken.”

She wasn’t sure whether to participate in luge again, she said.

“I was frail and weak, and I didn’t know if I could physically start again. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a dream.

However, Sweeney recovered to the point of returning to the luge track to compete in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada in December 2018, according to Olympic Report.

She follows in the footsteps of her sister Megan Sweeney, Olympian at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Emily Sweeney won a world junior title in 2013 and has competed in seven world championships since that year. She has also been on the World Cup podium seven times, according to the official Team USA website.

The Beijing Games, which run from February 4 to 10, are her second chance to win an Olympic medal, she said in the Olympic report.

“Soon after [the crash] I was hoping for another chance [at the Olympics] because that one [PyeongChang] didn’t live up to expectations,” she said.

Seth Robson



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