Germany denied gold-medal sweep of world luge championships races

Jonas Muller

Austrian Jonas Müller denied Germany’s bid to sweep all nine races at the world luge championships.

Müller, a 25-year-old who was not on Austria’s Olympic team, won the men’s event by .104 of a second over German Max Langenhan at worlds in Oberhof, Germany, combining times from two runs. Another Austrian, 2018 Olympic champion David Gleirscher, earned bronze.

Three-time Olympian Tucker West was the top American in 13th. Chris Mazdzer, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist, skipped worlds as he raced a limited schedule this season.

Germany won the first seven of eight singles and doubles races on Friday and Saturday, including sprint events that aren’t on the Olympic program. After its defeat in the men’s event, it won the team relay to close the championships later Sunday with golds in eight of the nine events.

Its last gold-medal sweep at worlds was in 2013, when there were four events on the program. Germany also swept the Olympic golds in 2014 and 2022.

Müller, the 2020 World silver medalist who dropped out of Austria’s top three men last season, said his sled broke in a crash at a World Cup two weeks ago in Sigulda, Latvia.

“I flew home the next day and unpacked the old sled again,” he said, according to the International Luge Federation. “As you can see, the old sled doesn’t seem so bad.”

While Germany has dominated women’s and doubles events, this marked the third consecutive worlds with a non-German men’s winner, its longest drought since the mid-1990s.

Johannes Ludwig retired after winning last year’s Olympics. Felix Loch, a two-time Olympic champion and record six-time world champion, placed fourth on Sunday.

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Germany sweeps women’s luge medals at world championships

Anna Berreiter

Olympic silver medalist Anna Berreiter led a German sweep of the women’s medals at the world luge championships at home in Oberhof on Saturday.

Berreiter prevailed by 58 thousandths of a second over Julia Taubitz, who led the German medals sweep at the last worlds in 2021, combining times from two runs. At 23, she is the youngest women’s world champion since American Erin Hamlin in 2009.

Dajana Eitberger, who won the sprint world title on Friday, rounded out Saturday’s podium in her last individual worlds race before switching to doubles. Summer Britcher was the top American in 12th.

A German woman has won 38 of the last 43 world titles dating to 1962.

German women also won the last seven Olympic titles dating to 1998. Natalie Geisenberger, who won the last three Olympic golds, is sitting out this season due to pregnancy.

Germany has won the first seven events of worlds with two left on Sunday — the traditional men’s event and the team relay. Germany last swept the luge worlds golds in 2013, back when there were four events.

Earlier Saturday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won their record-breaking fifth world men’s doubles title (all in a row), beating longtime rivals and countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by .171. Wendl and Arlt won the last three Olympic titles. Americans Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander placed seventh on Saturday.

Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal repeated as world champions in women’s doubles, an event that makes its Olympic debut in 2026. Chevonne Forgan and Sophie Kirkby were the top Americans in sixth.

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Summer Britcher, Emily Sweeney eye Olympic debut of women’s doubles luge

Summer Britcher

Americans Summer Britcher and Emily Sweeney, who own a combined five Olympic singles luge appearances, are joining forces for the debut of women’s doubles on the World Cup this season as the event’s Olympic debut nears.

“When the IOC announced womens doubles will be in the 2026 Olympics in pursuit of gender equality we decided to be all in,” Sweeney posted on social media. “Since Summer and I started training for doubles together in July we have been living in the learning curve. And I’m loving it. We’ll see how our experience in singles transfers over in the first World Cup.”

The first World Cup women’s doubles event is Dec. 3 in Igls, Austria.

In June, the IOC announced that Olympic doubles luge will be divided into separate events for men and women in 2026. Doubles was previously open to men and women, but no women ever competed at the Olympics.

“Back in May we decided to take on this challenge together, and then we waited with fingers crossed for the International Olympic Committee’s ruling on Women’s Doubles inclusion in the 2026 Olympics,” Britcher posted. “In June, they ruled in favor of gender equality and inclusion, and everything was set into motion.”

In December 2019, Canadians Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless became the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race. Women’s doubles was added to the junior World Cup last year. A women’s doubles world championship was held last January. German teams went one-two. American teams finished third and fourth.

Britcher, who owns the U.S. luge record of five World Cup singles wins, and Sweeney, the 2019 World bronze medalist in singles, will not compete in singles and doubles every weekend. Singles will be the priority.

“I’ve heard for a really long time people compare [singles] to driving a Ferrari and then getting behind the wheel of a bus and trying to race [doubles],” Britcher said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a totally accurate description, but it’s definitely different.”

Britcher has the top Olympic finish between the two of 15th from the 2014 Sochi Games. Erin Hamlin is the lone U.S. woman to win an Olympic luge medal, bronze in 2014.

Chris Mazdzer, who added doubles to his plate after taking singles silver at the 2018 Olympics, plans to race a partial season and only in singles, according to USA Luge. Mazdzer, 34, wants to spend more time at home with wife Mara and 18-month-old son Nicolai.

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