By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
BEIJING (AP) — Earplugs may be USA Luge veteran Summer Britcher’s secret weapon at the Beijing Olympics. That has nothing to do with noise. The start to a luge race is critical. Sliders wear with tiny spikes on the bottom of their fingertips. They dig into the ice as they paddle at the start and look to build every bit of momentum possible to start propelling them down the track. But Britcher has a broken middle finger on her left hand. So she’s doing something different. She’ll dig her knuckles into the ice as she paddles. And the soft, pliable type of earplugs will be how she cushions her hands from further injury.