Erin Hamlin, the three-time Olympian chosen by the Americans to be the flag bearer for the U.S. team, comes from a tight-knit family in New York, where she often trains in the family barn.
Hamlin is “the first U.S. athlete ever to win an Olympic singles luge medal,” according to EW.com. Her selection caused some controversy after she was chosen via a coin toss.
Hamlin, who is from New York, will turn 31 during the Winter Olympics.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hamlin’s Mother, Eileen Is a School Nurse Who Runs a Twitter Page Devoted to Luge Athletes
Hamlin appears close to her family, and she frequently posts tributes to them on social media. Hamlin posted a throwback photo of her family, writing on Instagram, “Aside from a lot less hair & many more kiddos, not a whole lot has changed. Pretty pumped I get to call this tribe of humans fam. 🤘🏼😝 #tbt #1990to2017 #photoslikeLester #bringbackAmys80shair.”
Her parents are Ronald and Eileen Hamlin. According to Yahoo, Erin Hamlin attended “State University of New York Empire State College, 2011. Hamlin also studied sustainability management at DeVry University” and went to high school at Remsen Junior/Senior High School in New York.
Eileen Hamlin is a high school school nurse who started the Twitter page @LugeMoms with two other athletes’ moms to offer “Motherly thoughts & experiences as our children work toward fulfilling their Olympic dreams with #TeamUSA.” NBC reports that Hamlin gave her mom social media tips.
Hamlin got involved in luge because of her father’s job. “She discovered luge at age 12 through the USA Luge Slider Search because the program was sponsored by Verizon, where her father, Ronald, worked as an engineer,” reports NBC Olympics.
2. Hamlin Thanked Her Boyfriend for ‘Keeping Me Grounded’ on Instagram
Erin Hamlin is not married – yet. However, she does have a boyfriend. Erin told NBC that she has a boyfriend who is a teacher and who helps her train.
Hamlin wrote with a picture of the pair on Instagram, “Thank you for your support. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for keeping me grounded & setting the best example of living with passion everyday. Cross your fingers🤞🏼for good WiFi over the next 6 weeks…”
NBC reports that Hamlin often trains in her family’s barn in Remsen, New York. She told NBC: “My cousin is a welder so made me start handles that are bolted to the floor of my family’s barn, so I sweep the hay out of the way to pull starts next to whatever is stored up there for the particular season.”
3. Hamlin Also Has a Family of Pets
Hamlin also has several pets, and she has spoken lovingly about them. According to US Weekly, she has a “yellow lab, rescue cat, and three horses.” On Instagram, she has posted photos while jogging with the dog.
She told US Weekly that her family helps her take care of the pets when her Olympic schedule conflicts. “I convinced [my family] after Sochi that they wanted a new dog, so we got a yellow lab who has now turned into a massive 104 pound yellow lab who really loves to watch me train when I train at home,” she told the magazine.
Her lab is 3 and named Dooley. “I do a lot of paddle training and star training at my parents’ house, so he will come lay out on the side of the road and watch me go back and forth,” Hamlin told US.
4. Hamlin Says Her Parents Struggle With Whether to Pay for High-Priced Olympics Tickets
With their daughter as flag bearer, Hamlin’s parents are likely to be at Olympic Stadium. However, Hamlin has said the Olympic trips have gotten costly for them.
“She told the story about how her parents, Ron and Eileen Hamlin, always wrestle with the decision about whether to spend the money for high-priced tickets to the opening ceremony – and in the end, always go to see their daughter march into the stadium with her U.S. teammates,” reported CBS News.
“I think they’re going to be really glad that they made that decision,” Hamlin said, according to CBS. “They’re really pumped. I’m sure my brothers will be. We’ve grown up watching the Olympics and we’re always like, ‘Who’s going to be carrying the flag?’ And to actually be that person is insane.”
5. Hamlin’s Brother Suggested She Not Drop the Flag
Hamlin has two brothers, Ryan and Sean. They are “known for wearing body paint or onesies to races,” NBC reports.
Hamlin has described her family’s reaction to hearing the news she should be the flag bearer. “Her mother started crying, which was no surprise. Her brother offered this sage piece of advice — don’t drop the flag,” reported The Washington Post.
“The nerves will be flying for sure,” Hamlin said, according to The Post. “I slide. That’s what I do. Put me at the top of the track, that’s my happy place. Walking out in front of a lot of people and even more watching from home, hoping to not trip over my own feet or drop the flag is going to be way more nerve-wracking.”
Hamlin’s brother, Ryan, has spoken about his sister’s focus. She won a bronze medal in Sochi and gold at the 2015 Lake Placid World Cup.
“She had thousands of runs on this track at that time,” her brother Ryan Hamlin said. “She was just ready to lay it down.” Ryan Hamlin told The Observer-Dispatch that he could see his sister assuming a career as a broadcaster after she retires from athletic competition.