Germany's former star athlete, Georg Hackl, is jubilant over the German luge team's four gold medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The current assistant coach told DW, it was the team spirit that made the difference.
Georg Hackl is on the coaching team for the luge athletes training in Obersdorf, Bavaria. The former star athlete is said to have played a pivotal part in improving the German team's equipment. He can be proud that preparation has paid off with four gold medals for Germany.
DW: Georg Hackl what is the secret of Germany's success?
Georg Hackl: The secret is that we have athletes who excel in all luge events. That's really unprecedented. These athletes have developed spectacularly well. And the coaching team does all it can to help them. But we did not expect them to become so perfect. In my opinion one of the key factors has been that they get on so well on a personal level as a team and support each other in every possible way.
Does that apply also to the German women's team? After Natalie Geisenberger had won gold, second placed Tatiana Hüfner complained of having been disadvantaged.
I was referring to all the athletes who have been successful here.
So you don't want to comment on Tatiana Hüfner's statement?
That is not my job.
As assistant coach you have played an important role in bringing about this success, and as a former Olympic gold medal winner you will remember what it feels like for athletes. How does this feel for you now?
It's wonderful when your efforts are rewarded with such a success. That is great and very gratifying.
Did you expect such an impressive success?
We realized during the World Cup season and even last winter that our team had become very strong. And they have improved even more this season – so this didn't come as a complete surprise.
Before the Winter Games you had criticized the Sochi environment and had complained about people being unfriendly. What is your view now?
I'm happy to say that the attitude of the people here has improved noticeably. The conditions in the Olympic village – oh well. For the biathletes things are great, for us they could be better. But all in all it's been satisfactory.
Georg Hackl is one of the most successful and most popular German winter sports athletes in history. He won gold for Germany at the Winter Olympics in Albertville (1992), Lillehammer (1994) and Nagano (1998) and silver in Calgary (1988) and Salt Lake City (2002).