Throughout his career, the Italian luger ran up an impressive number of victories in various competitions: notably five world championship titles and, from 1997 to 2006, five first places in the World Cup general rankings. This achievement obtained him the nickname “the cannibal”.
At the age of 20, he took part for the first time in the Olympic Winter Games, in Lillehammer in 1994. He obtained a bronze medal, coming after two legends in the discipline, Germany’s Georg Hackl (gold medal) and Austria’s Marcus Prock (silver medal).
At the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano in 1998, Armin Zoeggeler confirmed his talent as a luger, finishing second behind Hackl.
Four years later at the Salt Lake City Games, he finally won the gold. This victory was won with the best time of the four heats. This time, he was ahead of the two legends, Hackl and Prock.
In 2006, at the Turin Olympic Winter Games, the Italian was almost at home, and was built up as the favourite for the men’s luge event. He knew the Cesana Pariol track by heart. He won the two first rounds. He finished second in the third round, before having a scare in the last round and finishing fifth. His lead was large enough for him to repeat his 2002 feat, and win a second Olympic title. Winning silver and bronze were Russia’s Albert Demtschenko, beaten by 11 hundredths of a second, and Latvia’s Martins Rubenis, 35.7 hundredths of a second behind.
For his fifth Games, the cannibal encountered someone more ferocious than he. In Vancouver, the Italian luger yielded to two Germans, Loch and Moeller, and, at age 36, snapped up his fifth consecutive medal
Off the track, Armin Zoeggeler, a policeman, is the only Italian to have won five consecutive Olympic medals (in either the Summer or the Winter Games). He has the reputation of being a simple and calm man, which has earned him his other nickname “the ice-blooded champion”.