Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): , Cesana Pariol
Date Started: February 15, 2006
Date Finished: February 15, 2006
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
[Armin ZÃ¶ggeler] and [Sylke Otto] had already successfully defended the Olympic titles they had won in Salt Lake City and it was expected that the German pair of [Patric Leitner] and [Alexander Resch] would follow this pattern, although their team-mates [AndrÃ© FlorschÃ¼tz] and [Torsten Wustlich] had beaten them at the 2005 World Championships. The other medal challengers appeared to come from the USA, Italy and Austria.
The first run produced a series of shocks. At the head of the field were two Austrian family pairings and it was the Linger brothers who led from the more experienced Schiegl cousins. [Mark Grimmette] and [Brian Martin], silver medallists in Salt Lake City, crashed out on turn 14 and minutes later the Ukrainian pairing went airborne on the same curve. [Oleh Zherebytskiy] was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Pinerolo after sustaining a head injury.
The second part of the competition was just as unpredictable as the first. The expected charge from Leitner and Resch failed to materialise and instead they dropped down the field to seventh. The Schiegls also had a poor run and with only the Lingers to come the FlorschÃ¼tz and Wustlich team held onto the top position. [Andreas] and [Wolfgang Linger] needed only to finish within a tenth of a second of the Germans to become Olympic champions but instead they took a further two tenths off their rivals. The first Austrians to win this title since 1964, the Linger brothers had won the 2003 World Championships, but had not figured prominently in a major championship since then. Wolgang Linger was one of the victims of the first test event at the Cesena Pariol track as he suffered a broken ankle following a violent crash in January 2005.