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Lange leads Germans to thrilling bobsleigh double

19 Feb 2006
Turin 2006, Germany, Bobsleigh, Olympic News

A legend of the sport was created in Turin. Everyone knew that Andre Lange was a talented pilot, for he had led Germany to victory in the four-man bob in Salt Lake City back in 2002. Four years later, though, he was to secure his place in legend, with golds in both the two- and four-man competitions.

The first was the two-man, billed as a close competition between Germany and Canada; between pilots Lange and Pierre Leuders. Both were Olympic champions - Leuders had won gold in 1998 while Lange's gold had come in 2002, although it was won in the four-man race.

It proved a tight battle. The Germans set the fastest time in the first run, but were pulled back in the second when brakeman Kevin Kuske slipped. The Germans, though, were not at all hobbled, finishing ahead of the Canadians in both runs on the second day to take gold by 0.21 seconds to win Lange his first gold of the Games.

His second came a week later and was more dominant as he retained his four-man title. In the years since winning the 2002 Olympic title, German's four-man team had proved utterly outstanding, winning three world championships in a row. Few thought they would be beaten – and the team lived up to its billing.

Lange’s sled was the fastest on each of the three runs. But in fact the margins were always narrow and the lead was only 0.24 seconds after those three runs, small enough to ensure that one mistakes could still rob Lange and his team of victory.

The closest challenge came from the Russian team of Aleksandr Zubkov, who went quickest in the final run, but not be enough to overhaul the Germans. Lange's sled took victory by 0.13 seconds and, at the age of 32, Lange had secured the rare distinction of double bobsleigh gold. 

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