Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): The Spiral, Asakawa, Nagano
Date Started: February 13, 1998
Date Finished: February 13, 1998
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
There were no clear favourites for the 1998 Olympic title. The Italians, Kurt Brugger and Wilfried Huber returned to defend their gold medals but Tobias and Markus Schiegl, a pair of Austrian cousins, had won both the 1996 and 1997 World Championships and two different American pairs that claimed the World Cup titles in those same years. The German pairing of Stefan Krauße and Jan Behrendt entered their fourth Winter Olympics having recently won the European Championships and they carried that form forward to Nagano.
Showing the experience gathered over fourteen seasons of sliding together, they mastered the difficult track. They led after the first run and although the two US pairs were marginally faster on the second run the gap was too big to bridge. This was the fourth medal in successive Olympic Games for the Germans, a feat unmatched in the event’s history and their second Olympic title. The US teams of Chris Thorpe and Gordy Sheer (silver) and Brian Martin and Mark Grimmette (bronze) became the first lugers from outside Europe to win Olympic medals. Only the Soviet Union had previously dented the dominance of the Alpine nations of Germany, Austria and Italy.