Video stirs special memories for Olympic medalist Erin Hamlin

A still image from video taken of Erin Hamlin as she first tried luge in 1999. (Courtesy: WSYR)

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WAVY) — In 2018, it only takes a cell phone to save the special memories in life. It’s more unusual to uncover those moments from years back.

But when luger Erin Hamlin became the flag bearer for Team USA, WAVY dug through its archives and came up with gold.

“Seeing me on video on the sled for the very, very first time it’s pretty crazy,” Hamlin said.

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Pool – Frank Fife/Getty Images)

Back on that summer day in 1999, no one had any idea what Hamlin would become. Her family just thought it would be fun to try out luging at an event in Syracuse, New York.

“I wanted to bail and my parents said, ‘No, you signed up for it, you have to follow through,’” Hamlin said. “They kind of used it as a life lesson that you have to stick with it. And I’m really glad I did.”

Today, Hamlin is a four-time Olympian and bronze medalist in luge.

She still remembers the day when it all began.

“Everyone was going, ‘Put your feet down, put your feet down.’ So that’s the one thing I remember about my slider search,” Hamlin said.

But until now, she had never seen this video, dug up from Aug. 7, 1999 by WAVY sister station WSYR-TV in Syracuse.

Hamlin’s accomplishments are rare — now, even more so, since her teammates chose her to carry the flag into PyeongChang’s opening ceremony.

“I will forever appreciate that,” Hamlin said. “That was never something I thought I would accomplish or get the opportunity to do.”

And with that, Hamlin is going out on a high.

“This will be my last Olympics. I am finished after this, for sure,” she said. “We’ll have to see what opportunities present themselves and what new challenges and adventures are out there for me.”

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Look for more of Lex Gray’s coverage throughout the Winter Olympics on WAVY.com, on air and through social media (Twitter and Facebook).