Feb 09 2014, 3:42 PM EST -
By SAM BORDEN
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - There was little drama at the Sanki Sliding Center here Sunday night as Felix Loch of Germany continued his domination of the men’s luge event at the Sochi Games and won a second consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Many of the other lugers all but conceded to Loch after Saturday’s two runs, in which Loch was the only rider to record a trip time faster than 52 seconds. Loch then extended his lead in the third run, on Sunday, before officially claiming his prize with a solid final trip that gave him a cumulative time of 3 minutes 27.526 seconds.
“It’s really crazy; it’s unbelievable,” Loch said. “I’m really overwhelmed.”
Loch, 24, is the clear future of the sport. It was fitting, then, that he beat two legends with a remarkably consistent performance.
Albert Demchenko of Russia, 42, finished 0.476 seconds behind Loch, becoming the oldest man to earn a medal in luge. Armin Zöggeler of Italy, 40, was 1.271 seconds slower than Loch and earned bronze. Zöggeler’s medal was his sixth, a total that includes two golds; he became the first man to earn a medal in six different Olympics.
“I have no words,” he said afterward. “It has been good for me to represent Italy. Overall, it has been good for me and good for Italy.”
The Americans in the event struggled to keep pace with the top riders. Christopher Mazdzer finished 13th, Tucker West 22nd and Aidan Kelly 24th.
“A bunch of emotions happening right now,” Mazdzer, 25, said. “It’s an experience-based sport, and I’m not quite old enough to hang with the big dogs yet.”