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In Lillehammer, the two men were reunited on the Olympic track. A new challenger had also emerged in the shape of Italy’s Armin Zöggeler, but few doubted that Hackl and Prock remained the men to beat.
And so it was on the first run, with Hackl first and Prock second, and the gap between the pair was miniscule – just 0.004 secs. Zöggeler was another 0.141 secs further back, with the rest of the field already struggling to keep up. It was a theme that was to run through the whole competition.
The second run saw Hackl again top the timing sheet, and again the advantage was very slender – this time 0.006 secs quicker. Two runs done, and the two favourites were now separated by just 0.01 secs.
But the second day saw a significant change. The third run saw Prock go quicker, and by a margin of 0.058 secs, the most comprehensive victory of the event so far, and enough to put the Austrian into the overall lead for the first time. Yet it was obvious that any sort of error on the fourth run could prove decisive.