Loch makes it two straight Olympic luge titles in Sochi defeating the 2 ageless wonders of the sport
Created on February 9, 2014 by Sandy Caligiore
Updated on February 10, 2014
Young American team finds Mazdzer 13th, West 22nd, Kelly 24th
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – It was a young United States men’s luge team that landed all three men in the top 25 at the conclusion of Sunday night’s Sochi Olympic men’s race at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Chris Mazdzer of the United States takes turn five in the third run during the men's singles luge final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, N.Y., a two-time Olympian, led the way, repeating his 13th place effort of four years ago. On a comfortable night with the temperature around freezing, he was joined in the lineup by a pair of teenagers, technically still of junior age.
Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn., was 22nd and Aidan Kelly of West Islip, N.Y. finished 24th. Both were making their Olympic debuts.
As the U.S. trio was gaining valuable experience in the sport’s biggest event, the podium illustrated a blend of youth, with 24 year old German Felix Loch winning his second straight gold medal, and timeless talent, as 42 year old Russian Albert Demchenko collected his second Olympic silver medal, and 40 year old Armin Zoeggeler of Italy, raced to the bronze medal.
The achievement for Zoeggeler was particularly noteworthy as he is the first man to win six consecutive Olympic medals in his farewell to luge. Zoeggeler will slide for a seventh medal next week in the brand new team relay.
Demchenko brought the partisan audience to its feet as he stood in the leader’s box after the fourth heat, knowing at least the silver was his. Loch, with the frame of a strong safety, exploded from the start blocks and just kept accelerating down the 1,814 meter long course. Coached by his father Norbert he celebrated by engaging his girlfriend in a long embrace.
The winner’s four-heat time was 3 minutes, 27.526 seconds, winning by nearly 0.5 of a second. Demchenko clocked 3:28.002, and Zoeggeler 3:28.797.
Mazdzer was timed in 3:29.954; West posted 3:31.217; and Kelly 3:31.799.
The Sochi Olympic program continues Monday night with the first two heats of the ladies race. Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger has been the dominant slider over the six training runs, while Erin Hamlin of Remsen, N.Y., as she has all season, was consistent over the three days leading up to the race.