U.S. Olympian is great-great-grandson of BSA’s first Chief Scout Executive

Tucker WestThe speedy sport of luge has been in Tucker West’s blood since age 6 when his dad built a track in the backyard for Tucker and his fellow Cub Scouts to race on.

Scouting’s been in Tucker’s blood even longer.

Tucker West is the great-great-grandson of James E. West, the Boy Scouts of America’s first Chief Scout Executive.

That link to one of the BSA’s pioneers gives us a great reason to cheer on the 18-year-old as he becomes the youngest-ever member of the U.S. Olympic luge team and prepares to compete in Sochi, Russia.

Tucker will race four times: 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (Feb. 8) and 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 9) — all times Eastern. You should be able to watch most races live online, provided you authenticate your cable or satellite subscription on the NBC Olympics website.

I find it an appropriate coincidence that two of Tucker’s races will be on the BSA’s 104th birthday; Scouting was founded on Feb. 8, 1910.

Doug Stone, a friend of the West family who sent me this story idea, also shared this picture of Tucker winning the silver medal at Ridgefield, Conn., Pack 124’s sledding event in Tucker’s backyard in 2004:


Tucker’s on the right in the photo above, and he seems to have that medal-winning pose down. Let’s hope we see him strike a similar pose on the podium in Sochi.

Read more about the backyard luge track — and what happened when Connecticut State Amusement inspectors heard about it — in this nice Hartford Courant story. And watch the Today Show on Sunday morning for a story on Tucker and his dad, Brett.

But most importantly, join me in cheering on Tucker as he flies down the track at 80 miles per hour, carrying both U.S Olympic and Scouting history with him.

Big thanks to Douglas Stone for the tip.

6 thoughts on “U.S. Olympian is great-great-grandson of BSA’s first Chief Scout Executive

  1. Interesting – unable to view the news story, but I imagine a “track in the backyard for Tucker and his fellow Cub Scouts to race on” probably is outside the bounds of the Guide to Safe Scouting – fine for your own kid and his friends, but not inside of a scout activity.

    Previous posts by me have addressed the issue of updating GTSS to allow oower tools with “qualified supervision and discipline” – the halmarks of all our safety courses. Perhaps the story should have focused on the early start he got and dedication and left out cub scout luge activities. Nevertheless, good luck and safety to him in what is developing as a horribly unprepared olympic area. I pray he comes back healthy and whole.

    If others reporte a link problem to the story, you may want to see if there is another way of posting it,

  2. Good Grief. Nowhere in the story did I see a endorsement of unsafe practices. Somehow us older folks survived riding bikes without helmets, baseball and back yard football, winter sledding, and driving push carts without safety equipment or mandatory legal and insurance regulations. No wonder kids are getting heavy and volunteers are scared to participate in physical activities for our youth. You can’t breathe swathed in bubble wrap. I took the story at it’s face value, a nice and interesting story of an Olympic participant with a Scouting heritage. Thanks for the story!

    • I didn’t claim unsafe practices…however, if GTSS didn’t specifically address it in some way, then if something happened, BSA could claim “Well, that wasn’t allowed” and not cover anything with the insurance. I have my own problems with GTSS re: power tools – commented on elsewhere in Brian’s blog. The key to all of this safety is qualified supervision and discipline. Yeah, I survived w/o a helmet, but had some close calls as a kid. My comment was cautionary, not condemning. Just be extra careful on wht you do, or the beancounters in Irving might come down on you.

  3. Wow, a backyard luge track, with a PA system and timing and lights for night luging. This is some kind of dedication and I’m guessing the kind of preparation you need to compete at this level. Best of success Tucker!

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