You only need three words to describe luge at the Sochi Olympics: Deutschland über alles.
Germany’s three gold medalists – Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch and the doubles team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt – joined forces today to win the first-ever Olympic luge team relay by more than a second over Team Russia (Tatyana Ivanova/Albert Demtschenko/Alexander Denisyev and Vladislav Antonov).
The relay featured each nation racing a woman’s sled, a man’s sled, and a doubles sled from the same start point, one after the other.
The women’s and men’s riders had to hit touch-pads in order to begin the next leg, and the doubles teams hit them to officially stop the clock after three legs.
Geisenberger, Loch, and the “Tobis,” who were the heavy relay favorites after they all won gold in their individual disciplines, threw down a combined time of 2:45.649 to complete Germany’s luge sweep in Sochi.
Latvia – made up of Eliza Tiruma, Martins Rubenis, and the Sics brothers, Andris and Juris – won the bronze, finishing about six-tenths behind the Russians.
Team USA got off to a great start with bronze medalist Erin Hamlin posting the second-fastest time in the women’s leg. But the men’s and doubles’ legs weren’t as quick for them, and in the end, the Americans placed sixth overall.
Chris Mazdzer was sixth-fastest among the men, while Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman were seventh-fastest in doubles.
LUGE – TEAM RELAY
Inaugural Olympic Event
1. Germany (Geisenberger/Loch/Wendl+Arlt), 2:45.649
2. Russia (Ivanova/Demtschenko/Denisyev+Antonov), 2:46.679
3. Latvia (Tiruma/Rubenis/Sics+Sics), 2:47.295
6. United States (Hamlin/Mazdzer/Niccum+Terdiman), 2:47.555