Germany, again, will be the team to catch in Olympic luge

germany.jpg

-The Virginian-Pilot


There’s some sort of mystical power when it comes to Germany and luge.

Germany has more sliding tracks than any other nation, plus always seems to be ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to technology and any other innovation that can be used to get a sled down the ice faster than anyone else.

Nowhere has that dominance been on display than the Olympics.

There have been six nations with an Olympic gold medal in luge. Germany, East Germany and West Germany have combined for 31 golds in Olympic luge events, while the rest of the world has 13. Italy has seven, Austria five and the Soviet Union won one.

“We’re always under pressure,” German doubles star Sascha Benecken said. “But the pressure we put on ourselves is much tougher.”

USA Luge has made great strides in recent years, and comes into these Olympics bolstered by Erin Hamlin’s bronze medal at the Sochi Games four years ago. The doubles team of Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman could be in the medal mix as well, and men’s sliders Tucker West and Chris Mazdzer have had plenty of finishes that show they can compete with anyone.

Austria, Italy, Canada and Latvia should also contend for medals. The wild card would be the lugers from Russia, some of whom have results that suggest they would be medal contenders ? if permitted to compete. Russia will not have a team at these Olympics because of the doping fallout from the Sochi Games, though some athletes from that nation will be allowed to be in Pyeongchang under the Olympic flag.  -AP