Starting by mistake
February 11, 2002
In 2002, at the age of 35, he sealed silver at Salt Lake City 2002 to cap a fifth consecutive Olympic Winter Games with a medal.
Hackl initially had no great aspirations for Olympic glory. A locksmith by trade, he then joined the army where he more readily embraced the high-speed sport.
Building a legacy
What was all the more remarkable is that it was initially suggested he did not have the starts to be capable of beating the world best, a situation changed by a start range being built specifically for him to train on at the luge track in Königssee, close to his home in Germany.
— Olympics (@Olympics) February 11, 2017
His 1998 victory was the most impressive as he became the first man in history to top the times in all four of the runs.
It started a period of dominance in the sport, in which he enjoyed three straight Olympic titles as well as an astonishing 22 medals at the World Championships.
Hackl returned for what was expected to be a final hurrah at Salt Lake City to win silver and make him the first man in Winter Games history to win a medal at five straight Olympic appearances.
Not satisfied with five, aged 39 he returned to the Olympics once more in 2006 but had to make do with a seventh-place finish after which he retired from the sport.
It’s all in the mind
According to his coach Thomas Schwaben, it was Hackl’s mental approach – “psychologists say it could not be better” – which gave him the edge over his rivals.
With a reputation for generally being mild mannered, a daily newspaper once suggested he lacked intelligence back in 1992 so he sued them and duly won the case.