Host City: Sapporo, Japan
Venue(s): Mount Teine Luge Course, Mount Teine
Date Started: February 10, 1972
Date Finished: February 10, 1972
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
|Gold:|| East Germany-1
This was the only 1972 luge event in which in the East Germans did not sweep the medals, if only because each country was only allowed to enter two teams. The Germans weren’t even favoured for the gold, as that was expected to go to either the Italians [Paul Hildgartner]/[Walter Plaikner] or the Austrians [Manfred Schmid]/[Ewald Walch]. Hildgartner/Plaikner had won the 1971 world title ahead of the Austrians, who had been champions in 1969 and 1970. But Germany entered the bronze medallists of the 1971 Worlds, [Horst Hörnlein]/[Reinhard Bredow] as well as [Klaus-Michael Bonsack], reigning Olympic champion.
The competition provided the organizers with two problems. First, the starting gate malfunctioned, and the results of the first run were annulled. Then, after two runs, Hildgartner/Plaikner and Hörnlein/Bredow were tied for first place. No provisions were made for such a case, and gold medals were awarded to both teams. The Japanese lugers finished in fourth place, the best performance by a non-European luge crew at the Olympics up to 1972.