11-year-old Prior Lake boy selected for USA Luge development team

Zack Sevick from Prior Lake, Minnesota has been selected for a development program with USA Luge.

With a love of winter and a need for speed, an 11-year-old boy from Minnesota may be a future luge Olympian. USA Luge recently selected Zack Sevick from Prior Lake to a development team. 

“It kind of started when I was watching the 2018 Winter Olympics and just looked super fun,” said Zack.  

When USA Luge brought its Slider Search to Minneapolis last summer, Zack tried out. He instantly learned how steer around cones on a sled with rollers. He did it so well that coaches invited him to Lake Placid in January to try the real thing on ice.

“Before I went down it the first time I was a little nervous, but the minute that I pushed off on the ice, it was full excitement,” he said.

He instantly figured this out, too.

“It was kind of just a zoom in my head and me trying not to crash and at the same time trying to have fun,” he said.

His journey is just beginning. It takes so long to train in luge that 11 years old is the perfect starting age.

“It’s a long road to become an elite level athlete in the sport of luge,” said Gordy Sheer of USA Luge. “Typically a kid who is good, it may be an eight-year road to become an Olympian. It may be a 12-year road to become an Olympian.”

Sheer knows. He was 12 when he started and eventually won the silver medal at the 1998 Olympics.

“I hope that he enjoys every minute of it because it’s an experience unlike anything else in the world,” said Sheer. “The rush of going downhill on a sled at 60, 70, 80, 90 miles an hour. I just urge him to soak up every minute that he possibly can.”

So far, it’s been a fast journey and it’s about to pick up speed on fast ice.

“I’m just taking it step-by-step and working as hard as I can to try to see where this takes me, and I’m along for the ride,” said Zack.  

The USA Luge Slider Search is coming back to Minnesota this summer. It’s tentatively set for late July in Duluth. USA Luge will be posting all the details online.