AGONY FOR LOCH
A distraught Felix Loch was consoled by his father on the ice after his first mistake of the weekend cost him a third consecutive Olympic men’s singles luge crown, as David Gleirscher claimed gold for Austria.
Loch seemed certain to complete a hat-trick of Olympic titles when he entered the final run on Sunday with a lead of almost two-tenths of a second, but that error saw him finish down in fifth place.
The 28-year-old Loch was 0.192 seconds clear of the field – a sizeable cushion in luge terms – following three near-faultless runs. In a sport where every split-second matters, Loch’s lone mistake of the entire competition came just after the midway point of the course when he hit a wall, sending him almost sideways. His final slide of 48.109 seconds was more than half a second slower than his previous run and left him out of the medals in fifth.
Loch’s error saw David Gleirscher secure Austria’s first Olympic luge gold medal for 50 years with Chris Mazdzer of the United States taking silver and another German, Johannes Ludwig, winning bronze.
SO HOW DID DAVID GLEIRSCHER END UP WITH GOLD?
A fast start and three consistent finishes. The 23-year-old recorded the quickest time on the first run and two solid slides left him in third place behind Loch and Mazdzer going into the decisive heat. After taking the lead to guarantee himself a medal, he watched as Mazdzer narrowly failed to beat his combined time before Loch’s error handed him gold.
It was a surprise victory for the police officer who has never finished on the podium in World Cup competition.
FIRST LUGE MEDAL FOR AN AMERICAN MAN
Chris Mazdzer became the first American man to win an Olympic singles luge medal, missing out on gold by just .026 seconds.
The 29-year-old was 13th at both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 but a blistering third slide – a course record which was later eclipsed by Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller – propelled him from fourth into silver medal position.
Having waded into Germany’s ice-cold Lake Koenigsee 13 months ago after some disappointing results, Mazdzer had already found a lake to jump into if he missed out on the podium in PyeongChang. Instead, he’ll be taking home a silver medal.