Chesterfield’s Dana Kellogg reflects on impressive start to 2024 luge season with Team USA
|Published: 02-09-2024 3:25 PM
Dana Kellogg wore the world’s biggest smile as he stood on the podium – U-S-A letters proudly across his chest – to accept a silver medal following the team relay at the Luge World Championships last month.
Kellogg, a Chesterfield native and Smith Vocational alum, was one of six participants on the Team USA relay squad that earned a second-place finish in Altenberg, Germany. And while Kellogg has had some time to reflect on the accomplishment, he still struggled to find the words to describe what it meant to don his country’s uniform.
“Honestly, it’s an honor,” Kellogg said. “Not only to have a silver medal, but to share that silver medal with five other very talented athletes all on Team USA feels super cool. I don’t know if you can relate representing your country to anything else. To be standing on the podium there and knowing that I had something to do with it, seeing our flag being raised, it was just so, so cool.”
It was the first World Championship appearance for the 23-year-old Kellogg. In order to qualify, he and his doubles partner, Frank Ike had to meet certain standards within USA Luge to be considered for the big event. Kellogg and Ike took 10th place in Winterberg, Germany earlier in the month, and followed that up with a ninth-place finish in Austria.
Those two races were enough to send them to the World Championships for doubles, where another top-10 finish in Altenberg then qualified them for the relay team. In order to get that spot on the relay team, Kellogg and Ike needed to meet the time requirements in either their fastest single run, or their fastest overall combined time from two runs.
The duo met both in the Altenberg doubles race, which sent them through to the relay race the very next day.
“I wasn’t thinking so much about the qualifications for the relay team itself, I was more thinking, ‘Wow, we just got our best finish ever in a World Cup at the World Championships,’” Kellogg said. “After that realization, it kicked in that we also had just qualified for the relay spot. And not only are we doing it, but we’re doing it tomorrow.”
Since first being named to the senior luge team in 2020, Kellogg has spent quite a bit of time in Europe – specifically in Germany. Although he admitted he does miss the United States at times, the different lifestyle is something he enjoys.
“Over the past years of traveling to Europe and just competing doing luge, Germany is starting to feel like a second home,” Kellogg said. “Overall, it’s really fun. It’s a change of pace from living in the U.S. I do get a little homesick sometimes, but overall it’s pretty nice out here.”
The 14 members – athletes and staff included – of Team USA traveled to Europe on Dec. 31, and have been there ever since. Kellogg still has four World Cup events to compete in, two in Oberhof, Germany, and two in Latvia, before he heads back home in early March for some well-deserved rest.
Kellogg’s goal for he and Ike over the next month is to continue to climb the leaderboard and improve on the stellar start to 2024 they’ve had.
“I’d say for the rest of the season, I want to keep maintaining or improving on our previous World Cup finishes,” Kellogg said. “So that means looking to get top 10 in the next four World Cups. Oberhof isn’t one of my stronger tracks, it’s definitely not one of my favorites, but I don’t need to like it to do well.”