“I’m just stoked to be here,” Kate Hansen (’17)—BYU student and Southern Californian—told NBC at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Two weeks after notching the first U.S. women’s luge World Cup win in 16 years, Hansen marched in the Parade of Nations in Sochi, Russia.
“I was bawling my eyes out,” Hansen recalls. “It was so weird to think, ‘Hey, I used to watch this on my couch at home, and now I’m living it.’” Hansen caught the media’s eye with her prerace dance warm-up and sunny disposition. “I worked half my life for this,” she says. “I wasn’t going to waste it by being stressed out.” On top of a “pretty unbelievable” Facebook shout-out from pop diva Beyoncé, Hansen was asked to appear on the Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the Queen Latifah Show.
Hoping for a top-10 finish, Hansen came in at no. 10. “On my last run, I sat on the ice for a little longer than I should have,” she says, “just taking it all in.”