Chicago teen Maya Chan places 4th for USA Luge at Winter Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago teenager is helping pave the way for women in a relatively new sport.

Maya Chan is a member of the U.S. Youth Olympic Team, and she just placed fourth at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

"Everything's coming so quickly so you have to, like, already have it memorized basically by the time you're going," Chan said.

Saturday, the 16-year-old from Lakeview and her partner Reannyn Weiler became the first Americans to race in the Women's Doubles Luge at an International Olympic Committee event.

"Doubles was an open category but only boys did it because they were like stronger and heavier," Chan said.

The pair said they hope the new event will help more girls enjoy the sport.

"There's no other feeling really like it," Chan said. "Hopefully one day, maybe, we will also be the first women's doubles team to be in the actual Olympics."

Chan's journey started at the USA Luge's slider search in Westmont back in 2014.

"It was just a fun Sunday afternoon activity, or a different Sunday afternoon activity," Chan's dad York said.

"I was definitely a little intimidated," Chan said.

But USA Luge saw potential in the 11-year-old and invited her to join a screening camp, and eventually the national development team.

"Maya was athletic, she had good balance and coordination and she could really think quickly on the sled," USA Luge Sports Program Director Mark Grimmette said.

After years of commuting between Lake Placid and Chicago for training, Chan races closer to making history this weekend.

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