Armin Zoeggeler

Armin Zoeggeler

Armin Zoeggeler retires from luge

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Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler, the first athlete to win medals in the same individual event in six straight Olympics, announced his retirement Tuesday.

Zoeggeler, 40, began his Olympic career with bronze at Lillehammer 1994, upgraded to silver at Nagano 1998, won consecutive golds at Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006 and hung on for bronze at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.

He last Olympic competition was the first Olympic mixed luge team relay, where Italy finished fifth in Sochi.

“My instinct after the [Sochi] Olympics told me that it was the right time to retire, but I wanted to be 100 percent sure,” Zoeggeler said, according to The Associated Press.

Zoeggeler began his career chasing the German great Georg Hackl and ended it ceding to another German, Felix Loch.

Zoeggeler is tied for the most medals among Italian male Winter Olympians with bobsledder Eugenio Monti.

Lauryn Williams returns to U.S. Bobsled

What to watch on Day 6 of Sochi Olympics

Patrick Chan
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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 13. A complete list of every Thursday event can be found here.


Women’s skeleton runs 1 and 2, 2:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The medals won’t be awarded until Friday, but gold is expected to come down to American Noelle-Pikus Pace and Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold.

Pikus-Pace, a mother of two, finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, retired and came back two seasons ago and was in the best form of her life this past season, which she said will be her last.

However, she is now dealing with a back injury and was 11th and 13th in two training runs Monday. Pikus-Pace passed on taking training runs Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yarnold, the World Cup season champion, was the fastest in four training runs. She’s looking to make it back-to-back skeleton golds for the Brits after Amy Williams’ title in 2010. Williams now works for the BBC.

The other U.S. slider is Katie Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion who has been slowed by concussion effects this season.

Men’s ski slopestyle final, 4:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Two-time reigning Winter X Games champion Nick Goepper, the rare skier out of Indiana, is a medal favorite here. Goepper was among the first skiers to qualify for the Olympics in December and then enjoyed a media whirlwind that took him to the Golden Globe Awards and David Letterman.

The field includes several men who could win gold without a surprise, including Swede Jesper Tjader, Brit James Woods and Norwegian Andreas Haatveit. Also watch out for the other U.S. skiers — Bobby Brown, Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy.


Men’s hockey, U.S.-Slovakia  CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE | Russia-Slovenia, 7:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The men’s hockey tournament begins in earnest Thursday. All four Group A nations will play at the same time. The U.S. gets a tougher test with Slovakia than Russia does with Slovenia.

It is also important to note that all teams advance from group play to the bracket round, though group results will dictate if nations go straight to quarterfinals or must play first-round elimination games.

The U.S. will start Jonathan Quick in goal against Slovakia. The Slovaks, who pushed Canada in the 2010 Olympic semifinals and ultimately finished fourth, are led by Zdeno Chara and Marian Hossa.

Russia gets going against a nation making its Olympic hockey debut in Slovenia.

Women’s speed skating 1000m, 9 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe went one-two in three of four World Cup 1000m races so far this season, but it will be hard to replicate that at the Adler Arena.

Russia’s Olga Fatkulina is the 2013 world champion on this ice and took second in the 500m on Tuesday. Richardson was eighth in the 500m; Bowe was 13th. However, Richardson and Bowe are better in the 1000m.

There’s also Dutchwoman Ireen Wuest, the 2013 world silver medalist. Wuest won the 5000m on Sunday at Adler. China’s Zhang Hong, too, could keep the U.S. from winning its first Olympic women’s speed skating medal since 2002.

Men’s biathlon 20km individual, 9 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen gets his second chance to become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Bjoerndalen, 40, matched retired Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie by winning the 10km sprint Saturday for his 12th career medal. Daehlie has more golds.

Bjoerndalen then finished an agonizing fourth in the 12.5km pursuit on Monday, his first fourth-place finish in 23 career Olympic races. He missed the podium by 1.7 seconds.

Bjoerndalen is not expected to be among the medal contenders in this longer distance, though. The gold is expected to come down to France’s flamboyant Martin Fourcade and another Norwegian, Emil Hegle Svendsen.


Figure skating men’s short program, 10 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The cliched saying goes, you can’t win the Olympic gold medal in the short program, but you can lose it.

The major players are Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who skates at 12:45 p.m. ET, and Canada’s Patrick Chan, who goes two skaters later at 12:58. Chan, 23, is the three-time reigning world champion. Hanyu, 19, beat Chan at the Grand Prix Final in December.

Several other men are in the medal picture, including Russian four-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko (10:55 a.m.) and Spain’s Javier Fernandez (12:51 p.m.).

U.S. skaters Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown go at 11:21 a.m. and 12:17 p.m., respectively.

Luge team relay, 11:15 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The U.S. looks to build off the momentum of Erin Hamlin’s bronze medal in the final Olympic luge event. The team relay, in its Olympic debut, consists of a woman taking a run down the track and rising at the finish to tap a touch pad.

The tap will signal the start for a men’s luger, who will take his run and rise to tap the same pad. Finally, a doubles team goes. The doubles’ touch on the pad stops the clock.

The U.S. will send Hamlin, Chris Mazdzer (13th in singles) and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman down the Sanki Sliding Center track.

Germany, which won men’s and women’s singles, is a heavy gold-medal favorite. Russia, Canada, Italy, Austria and even the U.S. could also win medals.

Men’s hockey, Canada-Norway, 12 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The men’s hockey nightcap features the defending Olympic champion against a nation that has never made it past the Olympic quarterfinals.

Canada’s roster includes 25 NHL players, most of them All-Stars. Norway’s roster includes one NHL player, New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello.

The key in this game will be Canada’s goalie, Carey Price, who is making his Olympic debut. 2010 Olympic gold-medal game winner Roberto Luongo is slated to start Canada’s second game against Austria on Friday. So, we have a competition on our hands.

The (g)olden Olympians stealing show in Sochi

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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – The spirit of the ‘70s is alive and skiing, shooting, sliding, skating and jumping at the Sochi Olympics.

Albert Demtschenko, 42, and Armin Zoeggeler, 40, won luge medals Sunday, one day after Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, 40, tied the record for most career Winter Olympic medals with a gold of his own. It marked the first time two 40-somethings won individual event medals on the same day at a Winter Olympics.

VIDEO: Demtschenko makes Olympic history

Also Sunday, speed skater Claudia Pechtein and ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, both 41, finished fourth and eighth, respectively, in their first events of these Games. Suddenly, Bode Miller skiing at 36 and Yevgeny Plushenko skating at 31 doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.

The Olympics call upon the youth of the world to assemble every four years. The Sochi Games give new meaning to that.

Start with Zoeggeler, who won luge bronze to become the first athlete to win medals at six Winter Olympics.

The Italian is nicknamed the “Cannibal” for his ability to eat up the competition the last two decades. His medal collection now includes two gold, one silver and three bronze. He could add to it by entering the new luge team relay event Thursday.

Zoeggeler showed the vigor of a man half his age upon crossing the finish at Sanki Sliding Center on a chilly Sunday night. He slid into first place with two lugers to go and pumped his fists and raised his arms, knowing he had clinched a medal.

VIDEO: Watch Zoeggeler win 6th straight medal

Then Demtschenko came storming down the icy chute, bettering Zoeggeler in not only time but also post-race exuberance. Fireworks accompanied his final run, lighting up the Caucasus Mountains.

Demtschenko would win silver, his second Olympic medal. He also took silver in 2006, that time behind Zoeggeler. He’s now the oldest individual event Winter Olympic medalist ever (unless you count figure skating from the 1908 and 1920 Summer Games).

Zoeggeler and Demtschenko both watched the final slider, whippersnapper German Felix Loch, cruise to his second straight Olympic gold. Loch is 24, so look for him again in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030. The spry silver and bronze medalists had enough vigor after four runs over two days to lift Loch onto their shoulders at the post-race flower ceremony.

“The old guys can have a little back problem,” Zoeggeler joked.

MORE: Loch, 24, wins men’s luge singles

Surely, that must have inspired a Sanki crowd that included International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, 60, soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, 68, and retired five-time Olympic medalist Georg Hackl, who at 47 should really give a thought to compete again.

Their feats impressed their competition, that’s for sure.

“Well if I was getting medals, I’d definitely stick around as long as possible as they are,” said American Aidan Kelly, who was born seven months after Zoeggeler’s first Olympic medal and finished 24th in his Olympic debut.

The first ski jumping final of the Sochi Olympics took place simultaneous to luge. Japan’s Kasai, 41, came in as a medal contender having his best World Cup season since the turn of the millennium. So maybe eighth wasn’t what he wanted, but it matched his best individual Olympic event finish since 1998.

Kasai and Demtschenko are the first athletes to compete in seven Winter Olympics.

Earlier Sunday, German Claudia Pechstein came up just short in her bid for a 10th medal, finishing fourth in speed skating’s 3000m.

Pechstein is in her sixth Olympics. She won her first medal when Olympic speed skating was on an outdoor oval in 1992 in Albertville, France, and missed the 2010 Games due to a doping ban.

There are always 40-somethings in team sports, such as curling. The four oldest members of the U.S. athlete delegation are women’s curlers in their 40s, including skip Erika Brown, who competed at the 1988 Olympics at age 15. Curling was a demonstration sport then.

Two of the coolest old man in Sochi stories come from the men’s hockey tournament. Czech forward Petr Nedved is 42 and last competed at the Olympics in 1994. For Canada. He’s teammates with Jaromir Jagr, 41.

Latvian defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, also 41, is old enough to have competed internationally for the Unified Team and the Soviet Union.

Then there are the more odd tales, such as Jamaican bobsledder Winston Watts, 46, Mexican Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, 55, and the Dominica husband and wife cross-country skiers ages 47 and 48.

“I guess maybe we’re lucky, or good, or what,” Nedved said of being a 40-something athlete last week. “But we’re here.”