Quantcast
Olympics-Luge-Germany’s doubles duo thunder to third successive Olympic gold – Metro US

Olympics-Luge-Germany’s doubles duo thunder to third successive Olympic gold

Luge – Doubles Run 2
Luge – Doubles Run 2

By David Kirton

YANQING, China (Reuters) -The “Bayern Express” of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt thundered to their third successive luge men’s doubles gold in Beijing on Wednesday, making it three luge golds out of three for their country this Olympics.

Their closest competition came from home with Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, who took the silver.

Eggert and Benecken had dominated the last World Cup season, just as they had four years ago before Pyeongchang.

But just as in South Korea, they couldn’t catch the two Tobiases on the Olympic stage, finishing 0.099 seconds behind the winning time of 1:56.554.

“We feel super happy and it feels like a big rock was falling from the heart because we have just one chance each four years,” said Eggert, speaking to reporters after the race.

They improved on their bronze from four years ago, however, taking silver at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre.

“It’s a feeling like we won the first time,” said Arlt.

“It’s not easy, 20 years to slide together, we’re like brothers. We’ve known each other for so long and I’m very proud of him. He made it so good.”

The gold has extra poignancy for the pair, coming after one of their toughest seasons, with Arlt contracting COVID-19 during the World Cup season leading them to miss several vital races.

“After a hard season, we’re just proud and speechless,” said Arlt.

Their Austrian neighbours Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller made a valiant effort to spoil the German parade, but they had to settle for bronze after coming in a more sizeable 0.511 seconds slower than the winning mark.

It was an “emotionally insane” race said a stunned-looking Steu, who turned 28 on the night.

THE SUNSHINE TRAINING GROUP

It’s now out of three out of three for Germany in the luge events, after Natalie Geisenberger claimed her own third gold in the women’s singles on Tuesday and Johannes Ludwig took his first on Saturday.

It’s also a family feeling, Wendl said. After all, the Tobiases, Geisenberger, and two-time singles gold medallist Felix Loch grew up together, in a group they call the “the sunshine training group.”

“Maybe it’s the Bavarian beer. It’s our spirit,” said Arlt.

The German team’s coach, Norbert Loch, is Felix’s father. His teams are favourites again at the team relay on Thursday.

“The team relay is really difficult, there are so many ways to make mistakes, with the touchpads, the gate, on the track,” Norbert Loch said.

“I think we will have a great race with the Austrians tomorrow.”

But while Germany’s luge pedigree is unmatched, it can also bring pressure, said silver-winning Eggert.

“When we come here there’s pressure because the German Federation, the coaches, half the luge world they expect, ‘OK, they are one of the best so they have to get the medals’.”

The two German teams aren’t yet sure if they will return to chase gold in four years time, with the youngest, Benecken, due to turn 32 on Monday.

But Wednesday night potentially saw one changing of the guard, with Latvian duo Martins Bots, 22, and Roberts Plume, 21, placing in fifth, one spot higher than veteran Latvian brothers Andris and Juris Sics, 36 and 38 respectively.

“We are all the time talking and (they’re) telling us things, and we’re really grateful for them,” said Plume.

(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

More from our Sister Sites