German luge quartet capture first ever Olympic team relay title
German athletes completed a clean sweep of all of the luge gold medals on offer at Sochi 2014, when they stormed to victory in the team relay.
The mixed event was making its Olympic debut at the Sanki Sliding Centre, and featured teams comprising one man, one woman and one doubles pairing.
The main question ahead of the contest was whether the German team would equate to the sum of its glittering parts.
The German team clocked 2 min 45.649 seconds, which put them a full 1.030 seconds ahead of hosts Russia, who were represented by Tatyana Ivanova, 42-year-old men’s individual silver medallist Albert Demchenko and the doubles pair of Alexander Denisyev /Vladislav Antonov.
Latvia, whose team was made up of Eliza Tiruma, Martins Rubens and brothers Andris and Juris Sics came in third in 2:47.295, to claim the bronze.
A special feeling
“It's awesome, the greatest feeling ever,” said Loch, who had previously defended his men’s individual title.
“We have known each other since childhood and we are best friends so this is a very special feeling to win this medal together as a team.”
Geisenberger added: “It's fantastic to be able to add another medal to the German medal tally. Normally we are individual athletes but now to become Olympic champion as a team, this is the greatest.”
Demchenko, 42, who was competing a record equalling seventh Olympic Winter Games, admitted that he had harboured hopes of topping the podium on home turf, but was still delighted to come away with another medal.
“Two gold medals would be better than two silver medals, but two silver medals in one Olympics is very good result," said the Russian, who also finished second behind Loch in the individual event.
“Now Russia is developing luge and there is hope that at the next Winter Olympics we will have more medals in all sliding sports.”
Meanwhile, Juris Sics, who with his brother had also claimed a bronze in the men’s pairs a day earlier, was delighted to double his medal tally.
“Yesterday showed that we can and that gave me more certainty for today that we can do it,” he said, while his brother Andris added that their two podium finishes were a marker for greater success in the future.
“The best is yet to come, and we will work to perform even better at the next Olympic Winter Games.”