Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Sliding Center Sanki, Rzhanaya Polyana
Date Started: February 13, 2014
Date Finished: February 13, 2014
A team competition decided by the total time of separate runs in each of the three disciplines of the sport had been contested at the World Championships since 1989 but it was not until 2008 that the format was changed to a relay. This move proved popular and undoubtedly helped propel the event towards Olympic status.
Each luger hit a touchpad at the end of their run, which then released a gate at the top of the course for the next luger to start their run and total time determining the winning team. As Germany had already won the individual and doubles events, the main question appeared to be who would take the minor medals.
Of the more favoured teams, Latvia set the early pace with a combined time of 2:47.295. This was immediately bettered by the host nation Russia who completed the course in a time of 2:46.679 and took over the lead. The United States and Italy then went down the course, but failed to dislodge the top two. Germany, using all their gold medallists, went on to post the best time of 2:45.649, over a second ahead of second placed Russia and completing a clean sweep of luge gold medals. Canada, starting next-to-last, briefly threatened to take the bronze medal, but eventually finished 0.1 seconds behind Latvia. With the German victory, Natalie Geisenberger became the first woman to win two luge gold medals at the same games.
The coach of the 4th place Canadian team was unhappy at what he believed were suspicious changes in track temperature during the event. The official data revealed that the track temperature rose by a degree between the runs of the 1st set of teams (which included Russia) and the higher ranking 2nd set of 5 teams despite the air temperature falling by the same margin. When challenged to make an official protest over the incident, the Canadians declined.