KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia, February 13 (R-Sport) – Germany completed its clean sweep of luge gold medals at the Sochi Olympics with victory in the new luge team event Thursday.
In a result that was almost a foregone conclusion, Germany’s champions from the men’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s events came together at the Sanki Sliding Center to take the gold medal by a massive margin of 1.03 seconds.
"It's awesome, the greatest feeling ever," German slider Felix Loch said after winning his third Olympic gold. "We have known each other since childhood and we are best friends so this is a very special feeling to win this medal together as a team."
Germany’s gold-winning run began with Natalie Geisenberger, who hit a paddle at the bottom to release two-time Olympic men’s champion Loch, in turn setting off Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, who won doubles gold Wednesday.
The silver medal went to Russia, with bronze for Latvia, 1.646 seconds off the pace. For Russia's 42-year-old Albert Demchenko, it was his second silver of the Games after coming second to Loch in the men's singles.
Italy finished fifth, denying a luge-record seventh Olympic medal to legendary slider Armin Zoeggeler in what is likely to be his last Olympic event.
"It's still fun and I still have a good time, but maybe it has finished," he said.
The team event is a new addition for Sochi and brings together male and female sliders for the first time in the same competition. At the bottom of each run, athletes raise their arms to hit a target that releases their next teammate.
There was no delay to the event despite a bizarre incident earlier in the day in which a non-competition bobsled struck a track worker, breaking both of his legs. The man, who has not been named, was flown to hospital, although International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said his life is not in danger.