Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Sliding Center Sanki, Rzhanaya Polyana
Date Started: February 8, 2014
Date Finished: February 9, 2014
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Reigning Olympic and World champion [Felix Loch] of Germany was favourite to retain his title, although the hosts had a contender in the 42 year old veteran of six previous Olympics, [Albert Demchenko]. After the first run it was Demchenko who led Loch by a margin of 0.015 seconds with veteran [Armin Zöggeler] of Italy, attempting to win his 6th consecutive Olympic medal, 0.336 seconds off the pace, and Austrian [Reinhard Egger], a further 0.058 seconds behind.
The leader board changed after the second run as Loch posted the fastest time, 51.964 seconds, a new track record, to overtake Demchenko by an overall margin of 0.294 seconds, and Zöggeler a further 0.450 second behind. What was striking was that the fourth place athlete after the second run, [Andi Langenhan] was now over a second slower than his fellow German Loch, a huge margin in the luge where often the results come down to thousandths of a second.
Little changed, other than the margins, in the 3rd and 4th runs, with Loch, Demchenko and Zöggeler being the three fastest in each run (in that order) and extending their lead over the rest of the field. Indeed Loch also set a new track record of 51.613 in his third run. In the final analysis, Loch won in a combined time of 3:27.526, some 0.476 seconds ahead of Demchenko and 1.271 seconds ahead of Zöggeler. Zöggeler’s bronze meant that he became the first person to win a medal in the same event at six successive Winter Olympics and was the first time the feat had been achieved in an individual event in the entire history of the Olympic Games.
Further down the field was a much more exotic competitor. An attempt by a Tongan, Fuahea Semi, to qualify for the Winter Games was exploited by a German underwear firm called [Bruno Banani] as part of a marketing ploy. Semi legally changed his name to that of the company, although at first this was passed off as a coincidence, and narrowly missed qualification for the Vancouver Games. By 2014 he had improved enough to comfortably reach Sochi and competed without mishap during the Games. He placed 32nd and defeated competitors from a number of well-established winter sports countries.
|13||Chris Mazdzer||25||United States||USA||3:29.954|
|22||Tucker West||18||United States||USA||3:31.217|
|24||Aidan Kelly||19||United States||USA||3:31.799|
|25||Ondřej Hyman||27||Czech Republic||CZE||3:31.858|
|35||Kim Dong-Hyeon||22||South Korea||KOR||3:36.385|
|37||Shiva Keshavan||32||Individual Olympic Athletes||IOA||3:37.149|
|39||Lien Te-An||19||Chinese Taipei||TPE||3:48.091|