Remsen native Erin Hamlin has become the first American in history to a medal in singles luge, 50 years after luge first appeared at the games.
Hamlin won the bronze medal in Sochi on Tuesday, as her family and friends gathered in Saranac Brewery in Utica to watch her final run.
Family members said they were overwhelmed by her accomplishment and couldn't wait to host a celebration for her in her hometown of Remsen.
Germany's Natalie Geisenberger won the Olympic gold medal in women's luge, easily prevailing Tuesday to grab Germany's fifth straight in the event and doing so by an enormous margin. Geisenberger finished four runs in 3 minutes, 19.768 seconds, topping teammate Tatjana Huefner, who won the silver, by 1.139 seconds, to make it the second-largest winning margin in Olympic women's luge history.
Hamlin was another 0.236 seconds back for the bronze.
When Hamlin crossed the line, that medal finally clinched, she threw her arms skyward, then covered her face briefly with her hands. U.S. coach Mark Grimmette - a doubles medalist for the Americans - raced over to offer congratulations, and men's slider Chris Mazdzer reached down from the bleachers to hand Hamlin the U.S. flag.
"It's amazing," Hamlin said. "It's surreal, really."
"I'm sure everyone at home is going crazy," Hamlin said, "and I can't wait to get home to see them."
Hamlin's medal was the fifth Olympic medal for USA Luge, the first four - two silvers and two bronzes - coming in doubles races.
It was the first time in Olympic women's luge history that three world champions swept the medals. Geisenberger won in 2013, Huefner four times from 2007 through 2012, and Hamlin in 2009.
In Utica, Hamlin's family and friends celebrated her win the bronze medal
"The first ever in history! If anyone was going to do it, it would be Erin. She's been working so incredibly hard for so long, she deserves it," said her cousin Mallory Smith