West Islip's Aidan Kelly Nails Spot on Olympic Luge Team
Fundraiser set for January to help with competition costs.
The World Cup racing circuit served as the Olympic qualifier for the upcoming Sochi games in February. The qualification process for luge is comprised of tiers. Finish in the Top 5 and you receive an automatic Olympic bid with a A Tier finish. Finish in the Top 15 two times and you receive a B Tier finish. Finish in the Top 15 once and 2 Top 21 finishes and receive a C Tier. In Park City, Utah; the 5th stop of the Fall World Cup Travel circuit Kelly crashed in the first run of a two-run race eliminating him from the race.
Kelly had to hope that his previous C Tier qualification would be enough to secure his Olympic dream. Fellow teammate Taylor Morris was chasing Kelly on his heels and needed a Top 15 finish to secure his C Tier qualification and force a tie breaker with Kelly. A tie breaker would consist of a two run “race-off” fastest cumulative time wins the Olympic berth. Fortunately for Kelly, Morris' first run was fast but not fast enough, Morris finished the race in 20th, allowing Kelly the third spot on the Olympic Team.
In a sport decided by the thousandth of a second and where “sliders” are in their mid twenties to early thirties with 10-15 years international racing experience, Kelly is extremely young at 19 and is entering his sixth year of training and third year of international racing. USA Luge is sending its youngest team to the games with an average age of 24.6 (including three teenagers.)
The West Islip native and 2013 USA Jr. National Champion leaves today for international training and more World Cup action before the games in February.
There is a fundraiser set on January 26 at Farrell’s of Brooklyn located in West Islip from 1 p.m. to 5 pm to assist Kelly’s family to cheer him on in Sochi as well as offset some of the costs that the family has incurred to give Kelly the opportunity to compete at this level.