Felix Loch, Albert Demtschenko duel in first day of men’s luge

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Two of the top contenders in men’s luge had it out atop the speed charts in the opening day of competition at the Sanki Sliding Center.

Home favorite Albert Demtschenko of Russia and defending Olympic champion Felix Loch of Germany were 1-2 in the first of four runs, the Russian hanging on to the lead by a mere 15 one-thousandths of a second. But in the second run, Loch answered back, beating Demtschenko by a good three-tenths of a second.

With the times combined together, that means an overall lead of .294 of a second for Loch as the final runs loom tomorrow morning at Sanki.

Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler, looking to become the first-ever Olympian to medal in the same event six consecutive times, finished third in both runs. Of course, he’s also third in the overall standings, .744 of a second behind first-place Loch. Germany’s Andi Langehan, who last year’s World Cup race at Sanki, sits fourth overall (+1.038 seconds).

Chris Mazdzer is leading Team USA after the first day. Following heat finishes of 10th and 12th, he’s 13th overall on aggregate, down 1.238 seconds to the leader.

The second and final day of men’s luge begins tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. ET.

MEN’S LUGE – SINGLES
Overall standings after two heats
1. Felix Loch (GER), 1:44.149
2. Albert Demtschenko (RUS), 1:44.443
3. Armin Zoeggeler (ITA), 1:44.893
4. Andi Langehan (GER), 1:45.187
5. Reinhard Egger (AUT), 1:45.194

13. Chris Mazdzer (USA), 1:45.387
23. Tucker West (USA), 1:46.108
26. Aidan Kelly (USA), 1:46.467