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Olympics-Luge-German Ludwig powers ahead at halfway point of men’s singles – Metro US

Olympics-Luge-German Ludwig powers ahead at halfway point of men’s singles

Luge – Men’s Singles Run 2
Luge – Men’s Singles Run 2

YANQING, China (Reuters) – The performance of Germany’s Johannes Ludwig was as ice cool as the track he sped down during the first two rounds of the Olympic men’s singles luge on Saturday, though Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl was close behind ahead of the finale on Sunday.

Ludwig, who was in ruthless form in winning the overall last World Cup season, beat the track record at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre which had he set himself in November, with a first run of 57.063 seconds.

His overall time for the first two runs was 1:54.501, putting him 0.039 seconds ahead of Kindl, and 0.0304 ahead of Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller in third.

“It’s nice to set these records, but it’s still about the momentum, and tomorrow there are two more runs, and they could be even better,” said Ludwig, who claimed bronze in Pyeongchang four years ago.

Kindl, runner-up in the 21/21 overall World Cup standings, is looking set to break his streak of three ninth- place finishes in Olympic competition going back to Vancouver in 2010.

Ludwig’s compatriot and twice Olympic Games singles gold medallist Felix Loch was lying fourth after the two heats, in contention to make up for the major skid that derailed his medal hopes four years ago.

“Today was not my best performance, so tomorrow I will have to do something better, and then maybe everything is possible,” Loch said.

“At the moment I would say third place is a place I can get.”

Several athletes saw their times marred by minor losses of control on the track, with Ukraine’s Andriy Mandziy wincing as he picked himself up after a tumble on his first run.

“The ice is minus 11 degrees, when it’s such cold temperatures it’s hard to drive, and on a complicated part of the track, it’s hard for everyone, but we all like this,” said Loch.

It was also a strong showing for Fischnaller, who would have been competing against his cousin Kevin had the latter’s competition not been brought to a premature end by testing positive for COVID-19 a day earlier.

(Reporting by David Kirton, editing by Ed Osmond)

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