Felix Loch has won Olympic gold in the men's luge at the Sochi Winter Games. Day 2 in Sochi also provided reasons for fans from several other nations to cheer, as medals were awarded in a total of eight disciplines.
Germany's Felix Loch won his second successive Olympic title in the men's luge on Sunday, following the gold medal he had earned four years ago at the Vancouver Games.
The 24-year-old Loch smashed the track record in one of his four runs at the Sanki Sliding Center, on the way to a combined time of three minutes, 27.526 seconds.
Russia’s Albert Demchenko took the silver medal, while two-time gold medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy took the bronze, the sixth Olympic medal of his career.
"This is overwhelming, simply great," Loch said shortly after his victory. "This was the crowning achievement of a perfect season."
Prior to Loch’s victory late in Sunday’s action, German Olympic fans had been left scratching their heads, as the country's athletes had failed to capture silverware of any kind.
Veteran speedskater Claudia Pechstein, who was making her Olympic comeback after having been forced to sit out the Vancouver Games due to a controversial doping ban, failed to reach the podium in the women’s 3,000 meters, falling just short in fourth place. Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the gold.
Germany’s biathletes and cross-country skiers had also failed to win a medal.
The president of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DSOB) was effusive in his praise after Loch's victory.
"He produced a top performance at the right time," Alfons Hormann said. "He’s a great guy."
Sunday’s other medals
In alpine skiing earlier on Sunday, Austria’s Matthias Mayer tamed the Rosa Khutor run to take gold in the men’s downhill, in a race in which neither of the favorites, Bode Miller of the US nor Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, managed to win a medal.
The cross-country skiathlon provided Swiss fans with a reason to rejoice, after Dario Cologna attacked with less than a kilometer left in the 30-kilometer race to take gold ahead of the Swede Marcus Hellner. Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway came in third.
Jamie Anderson made it two out of two for the United States in one of the sports to debut at Sochi, slopestyle skiing. She took the women’s title, a day after Sage Kotsenburg had taken gold for the US on the men’s side.
In the women’s biathlon 7.5-kilometer sprint, Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia shot a perfect 10 out of 10 on the way to retain her Olympic title.
The Russian hosts, meanwhile, clinched their first gold medal of these Games, taking victory in the new team event in figure skating.
The last gold medal of Sunday’s competitions went to ski-jumper Kamil Stoch of Poland, who took the title on the men's normal hill. Peter Prevc of Slovenia took silver, with Norway's Anders Bardal collecting the bronze.
pfd/tj (Reuters, AP, dpa, SID)