Ashley Walden retires from U.S. luge

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Ashley Walden, a member of the U.S. luge team since 1996, has announced her retirement.

Walden entered the sport through the USA Luge slider search program when it went to Danvers, Mass., during summer 1994. She called Thursday's announcement "not an easy decision."

Walden competed at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, finishing eighth in women's singles.

The 30-year-old Walden, of Westborough, Mass., captured the USA Luge start championships 10 years in a row and won the international fall start competition the only two times she participated.

Walden's best World Cup finish was a bronze in January 2005 at Winterberg, Germany. She also was a member of the silver medal-winning efforts in team events at the 2004 and 2005 world championships.