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Luge at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games:

Men's Singles

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Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 13, 1980
Date Finished: February 16, 1980
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.

Gold: GDR Bernhard Glass
Silver: ITA Paul Hildgartner
Bronze: FRG Anton Winkler

Summary

As always, the East Germans were favoured for the gold medal. With Dettlef Günther, they had the defending World and Olympic champion in their midst. The 1977 World Champion, Hans Rinn was also competing for the DDR. Expected to challenge the East Europeans was Paul Hildgartner, the Italian who had taken the 1978 world title, and had been a doubles Olympic champion back in Sapporo.

After two days, the leader was, as expected, Günther with two wins. Rinn had been eliminated for a medal position after an error in curve 12, which would come to play a decisive role in the competition. Behind Günther, the Italian Ernst Haspinger (who would win the season’s World Cup) and compatriot Bernhard Glass (bronze at the 1979 European Championships) took places 2 and 3. In the third run, Günther was heading for another win when he fell over coming out of turn 12. He managed to get back on the sled and finish, but had tumbled back to 9th in the overall standings. With one descent to go, this left Ernst Haspinger in pole position for the Olympic gold. His main challenger, Glass, set the first time in the last run, 43.482. Haspinger had almost half a second on Glass – a large margin in luge terms – and seemed headed for the gold until 150 metres before the finish. Once more, turn 12 took a victim, and Haspinger finished last in the run and fell off the podium. Glass thus became the surprising winner, ahead of Hildgartner and Anton Winkler (FRG).

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Bernhard Glass 22 East Germany GDR Gold 2:54.796
2 Paul Hildgartner 27 Italy ITA Silver 2:55.372
3 Anton Winkler 25 West Germany FRG Bronze 2:56.545
4 Dettlef Günther 25 East Germany GDR 2:57.163
5 Gerhard Sandbichler 22 Austria AUT 2:57.451
6 Franz Wilhelmer 19 Austria AUT 2:57.483
7 Gerhard Böhmer 21 West Germany FRG 2:57.769
8 Anton Wembacher 24 West Germany FRG 2:58.012
9 Albert Graf 24 Austria AUT 2:58.023
10 Jindřich Zeman 29 Czechoslovakia TCH 3:00.935
11 Bruce Smith 21 Canada CAN 3:01.074
12 Jeff Tucker 23 United States USA 3:01.296
13 Rainer Gassner 21 Liechtenstein LIE 3:02.074
14 John Fee 28 United States USA 3:02.112
15 Jeremy Palmer-Tomkinson 36 Great Britain GBR 3:02.264
16 Neil Townshend 24 Great Britain GBR 3:02.399
17 Mark Jensen 19 Canada CAN 3:02.810
18 Stefan Kjernholm 28 Sweden SWE 3:02.908
19 Koji Kuriyama 19 Japan JPN 3:03.082
20 Richard Stithem 26 United States USA 3:03.092
21 Ernst Haspinger 24 Italy ITA 3:03.416
22 Derek Prentice 29 Great Britain GBR 3:04.522
23 Takashi Takagi 17 Japan JPN 3:09.564
AC Dainis Bremze 25 Soviet Union URS DNF
AC Wolfgang Schädler 21 Liechtenstein LIE DNF
AC Hans Rinn 26 East Germany GDR DNF
AC Markus Kägi 19 Switzerland SUI DNF
AC Vladimír Resl 26 Czechoslovakia TCH DNF
AC Karl Brunner 28 Italy ITA DNF
AC Ueli Schenkel 20 Switzerland SUI DNF