Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler
Date Started: February 13, 2010
Date Finished: February 14, 2010
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
The dominating presences of the 2009-2010 World Cup season had been two veteran competitors. Armin Zöggeler, 36-year-old Olympic champion at both Salt Lake City and Torino and perenniel contender Albert Demchenko of Russia. Behind them came a plethora of German talent including reigning world champion Felix Loch and former champion David Möller.
Following the tragic death of Nodar Kumaritashvili in practice, the men’s course was shortened to start where the women normally started. Whilst the 178 metres may not sound a great distance, it changed the nature of the competition as it favoured the competitors with a powerful start over those who relied more on the technical skills of driving round a course to gain time. Felix Loch (GER), the world champion from 2008 and 2009, led from the start, and with the leading time from each of the four runs ended with a combined time of 3:13.085. He was followed closely by David Möller (GER), who had the second fastest time in each run, to finish 0.679 seconds behind Loch. Reigning champion from 2002 and 2006, Armin Zöggeler (ITA), who favoured the longer, more technical courses, had the third fastest run on his first two runs. Although his third and fourth runs saw him being the 6th and 4th fastest of the competitors respectively, his combined time of 3:14.375 was enough to give him the bronze medal. This was Zöggeler’s fifth successive Olympic medal, which tied the record of Georg Hackl, and brought his career to an end with a final total of five Olympic (2 gold), 14 World Championship (5 gold), 11 European Championships (3 gold) medals added to nine victories in the season long Word Cup series.
Loch, the son of the president of Germany’s national Luge Federation, had a strange relationship with the Whistler track. His first visit in 2008 had left him in hospital with an injured shoulder but on returning in 2009 a speed trap recorded him at 153.98 km/h (95.68 mph), the fastest speed ever recorded in the sport. At 20-years-old he added the distinction of being the sport’s youngest ever Olympic champion to that of being the youngest ever World Champion.
In last place (38th), was the 47-year-old Argentine Rubén González. This was González’s 4th Winter Games with each appearance coming in a different decade.
Most importantly, in view of the disastrous start to the Olympic programme, was that all those who started came safely home.
|8||Tony Benshoof||34||United States||USA||3:15.128|
|13||Chris Mazdzer||21||United States||USA||3:15.813|
|15||Bengt Walden||36||United States||USA||3:15.984|
|16||AJ Rosen||25||Great Britain||GBR||3:16.016|
|25||Ondřej Hyman||23||Czech Republic||CZE||3:17.389|
|28||Jakub Hyman||25||Czech Republic||CZE||3:17.801|
|34||Ma Chih-Hung||24||Chinese Taipei||TPE||3:22.362|
|36||Lee Yong||31||South Korea||KOR||3:23.296|