NEW YORK — The bronze medal is a a little dinged and scratched, but Erin Hamlin says that just gives it a little character.
“It needs to be loved,” she said.
It’s seen an array of stars in the two months since Hamlin, the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic luge medal, returned from Sochi. Hamlin met Ben Affleck at the Oscars, President Barack Obama at the White House and noticed actors Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart from her floor seats at a Knicks game.
“Pretty much the best seats you could possibly have,” she said.
Hamlin’s latest tour stop took place Thursday, when she spoke to 125 middle school kids for one of her sponsors, Citi, and threw out a first pitch before the Mets-Cardinals game at Citi Field.
Hamlin, a three-time Olympian, expects to compete next season. She hopes to slide with the same attitude she took going into the Olympics. No pressure.
“There’s not too much that’s right in front of me that I’m like, I need to accomplish this,” she said. “I just slid well, I’m going fast, why would I stop now? … I just feel like I shouldn’t be done yet.”
Hamlin’s menu of accomplishments is unrivaled all time among U.S. singles lugers. She has the Olympic bronze, a 2009 World Championships gold, a Best of U.S. Award as the top female Sochi Olympian and her own sundae at Soda Fountain, a restaurant in her hometown of Remsen, N.Y.
How would she rank the four?
“Can I just have them all tied?” she joked. She thought it over and listed them:
1. Olympic bronze medal
2. World Championships gold medal
3. Best of U.S. Award
4. World champion Erin Hamlin Sundae
“As much as I love my sundae, winning a medal was definitely the cherry on top of the sundae,” said Hamlin, who last indulged on one of the sundaes in March — vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, hot fudge, Oreos, peanut butter cups, whipped cream and a cherry for $6.95.
Hamlin met Obama on April 3, one day after winning her Best of U.S. Award in Washington.
“He asked me how on Earth I got into luge and then proceeded to tell me how crazy I am,” Hamlin said. “Which is pretty spot on. We get that a lot. I told him he should come try it some time. I don’t know if that’ll happen.”
Since coming home, Hamlin has yet to see video of the entirety of any of her four runs from the Sochi Olympics.
“I’ve only seen a couple pieces of the final run and the highlight from me winning the medal,” she said. “It’s killing me. I want to see my runs really bad.”