Already making history by appearing in his seventh Olympics as a winter athlete (a mark he’s sharing in Sochi with Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai), 42-year-old Russian luger Albert Demtschenko is looking for more. He’s off to a good start.
On Wednesday, Demtschenko – a silver medalist at Torino in 2006 – turned in the fastest training time of the day among the luge contingent at the Sanki Sliding Center. He is considered to be a potential medal threat going into the start of the men’s event on Saturday.
A medal would help Demtschenko become the oldest Winter Olympic medalist in an individual event and the oldest Olympic luge medalist.
Currently, Great Britain skeleton racer John Crammond holds the title of oldest Winter Olympics medalist in an individual event after claiming bronze at St. Moritz in 1948. He was 41 years, 214 days old.
In regards to luge only, Fritz Nachmann earned a doubles’ bronze for West Germany at Grenoble in 1968; he was 38 years, 186 days old.
Finally, should Demtschenko go all the way and claim the gold in Sochi, he’d be the oldest Winter Olympic champion in an individual event. Canada’s Duff Gibson is that record’s current holder after he won the skeleton title in Torino at 39 years, 190 days old.
Demtschenko is coming off a narrow fourth-place finish in the singles at Vancouver in 2010; he missed the bronze by a mere three one-hundredths of a second. He is a former World Cup champion (2004-05) and finished second last year behind Germany’s Andi Langehan on the Sanki track in a World Cup test event.