Anne Abernathy

This Way to the Luge

I had no idea it would turn out like it did.

I went with some friends on a ski trip to Lake Placid. We went to look at the bobsled run, and saw a sign pointing the way to the Luge. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it. I saw one go by and thought, "I’d really like to do that." And that was the way it all began.

I was 27 at the time, and a professional entertainer. I had performances booked for the next two years – performances that I wanted to honor. So, two years after my interest was piqued, I began my life with the Luge.

And, oh, the places it’s taken me. I’ve traveled the world. I’ve seen the most wonderful scenery. I’ve been in five Olympics.

Dangers

While I don’t think Luge is as dangerous as some other sports, nonetheless, hurtling down an ice chute upwards of 80 miles an hour without a harness or any protection other than a helmet can lead to occasional mishaps.

It’s an intense sport, jarring your body. You can feel the G force as you slide into the turns, and there are times when you have bruises on top of bruises.

I had been relatively injury free until 1999. I crashed and broke both my knee and shoulder, and then in January of 2001, I had a closed head injury, and lay unconscious at the bottom of the run for 20 minutes. I was told I’d have seizures all my life, that I’d never drive again, and that I would take medication for the rest of my life.

I don’t always take "no" for the ultimate answer. I entered into innovative brain re-training, and, a year after my injury, I became the oldest competitor in the 2002 Olympics.

Journey

Sometimes, I look back and marvel at what God has done in my life. I never dreamed things would turn out the way they did. I just kept taking one step at a time, and moving forward, knowing I’m always in God’s hands.

My relationship with Luge began in Lake Placid. My relationship with God began in a Student Union my freshman year in college.

I had gone to a freshman orientation dance. A guy there kept asking me to dance, and I didn’t want to. So I approached another guy standing in the corner. He looked safe. He had a cross around his neck.

He asked me if I was a Christian. When I said "No", he asked, "Why not?"
Not long afterward, he took me from the story of creation to the life of Jesus. Right in the Student Union, as thousands of kids milled about, I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. The tears streamed down my face. I wanted to tell everyone about this new relationship I had with the God of the universe.

Along for the Ride

Once, at the top of the mountain in Lillehammer, as I prepared to pitch down the Luge run, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of everything I saw. I remember praying, "God, you’ve brought me this far. Why don’t you come along for the ride?"

He’s been with me all along, in my ups and downs, in my triumphs and crashes.

I have a favorite Bible passage that has meaning for me because of my background in music. It’s Psalm 63:7 – "You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings, I sing for joy."

I had no idea it would turn out like it did – but God did. I’m in the shadow of His wings, singing for joy.


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