Erin Hamlin

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Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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MORE: Top luge moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Erin Hamlin’s medal was ‘big boost’ for Team USA luge

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Tucker West admits that his teammates were “shocked” when fellow U.S. luger Erin Hamlin claimed the bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics.

Understandable, considering Hamlin failed to make a podium in either of the two World Cup seasons leading up to the Sochi Games. Not to mention that no U.S. athlete had ever won an Olympic singles luge medal in the 50 years since the sport made its Olympic debut.

“It gave the team a morale boost,” West said. “It showed that our equipment is fast and can compete with the rest of the world.”

Hamlin immediately recognized the significance of her achievement. When she finished her final run, she ran over to the stands and bowed in front of the loud contingent of U.S. fans.

NBCOlympics.com: Hamlin on what it means to be U.S. flag bearer (video)

“Hopefully, it means [the sport] gets a little more attention and we get some funding and spread the numbers and get a lot more kids involved going forward,” Hamlin said at the time. “And we just get stronger.”

Hamlin’s wish came true. Gordy Sheer, a 1998 Olympic doubles silver medalist and USA Luge’s Marketing Director, said that the organization’s athlete recruitment statistics “skyrocketed” in 2014.

“It was a big, big boost for us,” Sheer said.

The U.S. has achieved unprecedented success on the international circuit since then.

In December 2014, Tucker West became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup race since 1997. It started a streak of U.S. men winning multiple World Cup races in each of the three seasons since the 2014 Olympics.

Hamlin won three medals at the 2017 World Championships, the most by a U.S. luger at Worlds in a single year. She was one of three U.S. women to finish in the top-10 of the 2016-2017 World Cup standings.

NBCOlympics.com: Watch Hamlin’s run for bronze in 2014

“Erin’s medal really sparked the rest of our success since then,” West said. “It’s snowballed from there.”

Hamlin will be 31 during the PyeongChang Winter Games, which she has said will be the final competition of her career. She is a medal threat after finishing second at the 2017 World Championships.

“She is a great racer, especially in stressful situations,” West said. “She seems to do well in all of the big races.”

Erin Hamlin named Team USA flag bearer for PyeongChang Opening Ceremony

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Erin Hamlin will be Team USA’s flag bearer at the PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony on Friday, leading her fellow U.S. Olympians in the Parade of Nations.

“It was a pretty big shock,” Hamlin said, “but it is an honor and a privilege to be recognized by all of Team USA.” With 244 athletes competing at the 2018 Olympic Games, Hamlin will carry the flag with the largest U.S. contingent ever.

NBCOlympics.com: How Erin Hamlin changed the culture of USA luge

Hamlin, 31, is making her fourth trip to the Olympics. After missing out on the podium in her first two games, Hamlin won a bronze medal in Sochi, becoming the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic singles luge medal since the event debuted at the Olympics in 1964. It wasn’t the first time she made history — in 2009, she became the first U.S. woman to win a world championship in the luge. She kicks off her 2018 Olympic competition on February 12 with the first two runs of the luge. Michael Phelps led Team USA in the Opening Ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick was the Team USA flag bearer in 2014.

NBCOlympics.com: Five fun questions to get to know Erin Hamlin

The Opening Ceremony celebrates the official start of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast on NBC at 8p ET/5p PT, and can be seen live by streaming at NBCOlympics.com at 6a ET.