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Throwback: ‘The Cannibal’ Zoggeler wins sixth consecutive Winter Games medal

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Armin Zoeggler of Italy finishes a run during the Luge Relay on Day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

February 9th, 2014

No athlete in Olympic Winter Games history has been as hungry for medals as ‘The Cannibal’, Armin Zoggeler.

This is despite the fact that there were no luge tracks in his home country of Italy until the construction of Cesana Pariol for Turin 2006.

Zoggeler, who was junior world champion at the age of 14, won bronze on his Olympic debut at Lillehammer 1994.

Four years later, in Nagano, Japan, he went one better, claiming silver behind the legendary Georg Hackl of Germany. And at Salt Lake City in 2002, he finally beat Hackl, preventing him from claiming a third straight gold. He also saw off Markus Prock of Austria, who had also beaten him in 1994.

At his home Games in Turin in 2006, Zoggeler retained his title.

By 2010, his status was such that he was asked to carry the Italian flag at the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, but politely declined because he was competing the next day.

By now, a new wave of lugers had come to the fore though, and Zoeggeler had to be content with bronze behind new star Felix Loch of Germany and his compatriot David Moller.

Zoggeler was 40 by the time of Sochi 2014, but was still a force to be reckoned with. He had won the World Cup 10 times and recorded 57 individual victories – way ahead of Hackl and Prock, who each had 33.

This time Zoggeler did agree to carry the flag for his home nation. His overall time of 3:28.797 was 1.271 behind Loch – who is threatening to become the best luger of all time – and 0.795 seconds behind Albert Demchenko of Russia in silver.

But, nevertheless, he had become the first Olympian to win six medals in the same individual competition in six consecutive Games.

In the following October, Zoegeller announced his retirement and now works as a policeman in Italy.

However, his daughter Nina has recently started to make her mark on the sport, so keep an eye out for another Zoeggler Olympian.


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