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.
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).
|1||Bernhard Glass||22||East Germany||GDR||Gold||2:54.796|
|3||Anton Winkler||25||West Germany||FRG||Bronze||2:56.545|
|4||Dettlef Günther||25||East Germany||GDR||2:57.163|
|7||Gerhard Böhmer||21||West Germany||FRG||2:57.769|
|8||Anton Wembacher||24||West Germany||FRG||2:58.012|
|12||Jeff Tucker||23||United States||USA||3:01.296|
|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|
|20||Richard Stithem||26||United States||USA||3:03.092|
|22||Derek Prentice||29||Great Britain||GBR||3:04.522|
|AC||Dainis Bremze||25||Soviet Union||URS||DNF|
|AC||Hans Rinn||26||East Germany||GDR||DNF|