Forgan and Kirkby make history with medal in first-ever FIL World Cup women’s doubles race
by Chris Gregg, special for USA Luge
LA PLAGNE, France - The doubles team of Chevonne Forgan and Sophie Kirby slid into history yesterday when they took silver during the first-ever women’s World Cup doubles competition. The season-opening race, held on the 1992 Olympic track in La Plagne, France, also marked the first time a United States women’s doubles team has taken home a medal.
Meanwhile, USA Luge youngsters picked up a total of four medals, as the Women's Doubles, Junior and Youth World Cups are all being held concurrently.
“I was pretty nervous for my first international doubles race, and at the same time my first ever senior World Cup,” said Kirby of Ray Brook, N.Y. “It was exciting to share a new track with all the nations and see my many teammates who joined the traveling team also experience their first races.”
“I had so much fun at the race, it was super exciting to be a part of,” said Forgan of Chelmsford, Mass. “I’m looking forward to watching the category grow and seeing some more women on doubles sleds!”
The FIL World Cup began in 1977, but has never included a women’s doubles race. In 2019 Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless of Canada also made history when they became the first women’s doubles team to enter a World Cup doubles race. The dynamic duo competed in Whistler, B.C., in the men’s doubles World Cup race.
The doubles team of Maya Chan of Chicago and Reannyn Weiler of Whitesboro, N.Y., who raced in the 2020 Youth Olympic Games, medaled in the Junior Women's doubles event on the course used for the Albertville Games. They finished second.
“Yesterday’s race was pretty exciting, and it was amazing to have the opportunity to be part of another step towards getting women’s doubles approved for the 2026 Olympics and involving more girls in higher levels of the sport in general,” said Chan.
Chan and Weiler grabbed an overall fourth place seat, missing the podium by 0.21 seconds.
“We had some issues during our first run putting us into fourth place, but we were able to put down a clean second run moving us up into second place. We [Maya Chan and I] look forward for the second World Cup of the season,” said Weiler.
Athletes from USA Luge also took top spots on the podium in other divisions of the race. Teammate Matt Greiner of Park City, Utah took gold in Junior Men’s singles, posting the best times of both heats.
“It felt really awesome to take home my first international gold medal today. Coming up the outrun and seeing Number 1 is a feeling I never want to forget,” said Greiner. “I also think it’s really great that the younger guys in both singles and doubles showed their mettle.”
Marcus Mueller of Brookfield, Wis. made his World Cup debut and took silver in the Men’s Youth A division. Mueller continued on and scored a gold in the Youth A doubles division with his doubles partner Ansel Haugsjaa of Farmington, Mass. who also made his World Cup debut.
“The race was definitely a big deal for us. With COVID last year we were not able to race at all so we have been preparing to race for over a year and definitely had big expectations,” said Haugsjaa. “A couple of days before the race we were having a lot of trouble with our sled to the point we thought we would not be able to race. After a couple of tough days, and a lot of work from our coaches, we got it working for us.”
The doubles team of Aiden Mueller of West Islip, N.Y. and Frank Ike of Lititz, Penn. also made their debut this race and joined Mueller and Haugsjaa on the podium with a bronze in the Youth A doubles division.
“This was a very important day to me being that it was my first international race. I am really happy that we were able to get the result we did in our first race,” said Ike. “The first run was the best run we have had on this track.”
The Junior World Cup continues this weekend with Junior women’s singles and doubles, and Youth A men’s singles and doubles racing on Dec. 3. Junior men’s singles and doubles along with Youth A women’s singles and doubles sliding on Dec. 4.