When she was 12, Erin Hamlin signed up for luge lessons near her upstate New York home. But on the day she was supposed to start sliding, her pals took a trip to the Six Flags amusement park. Hamlin yearned to ride roller coasters with her friends, but her father ordered her to stick with her equally fast-moving commitment. A decade later, Hamlin stood atop the podium in Lake Placid, having won the 2009 World Championship in the luge. Hamlin's title halted Germany's startling streak of 99 straight international victories in the women's luge. But can she break the German chokehold on the Olympics, where the country swept the podium in both Salt Lake City and Torino? In a European-dominated sport, Hamlin, 23, is America's best hope in years.
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