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Linger brothers take gold to end Austria's dry spell

The men's double luge had a clear form guide. Just three months before, the test event had been held on the same track and victory had gone, as expected, to the defending gold medallists Patrick Leitner and Wolfgang Linger, of Austria.


The pair had been world champions three times and were in good form. Second in the test event had been the reigning world champions André Florschütz and Torsten Wustlich, from Germany. Victory, it seemed, was most likely to go to one of these pairs.

Few had counted on a serious challenge from Austrian brothers Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger. Yes, they had taken the world championship title in 2003, but that was three years ago and the brothers had not won a medal in any event since.

What's more, a year before the Games, they had crashed at the first Olympic test event. Their return to the track was to prove a much happier experience.

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It was a tough competition. Two crews crashed out on the first run, including the silver medallists from the 2002 Games, with the standings led by two Austrian family pairings – the Linger brothers out in front ahead of the more experienced Schiegl cousins.

The second run was no less predictable. The Schiegls had a poor run and dropped out of the medal placings. With just the Linger brother left to slide, it was the German duo of Florschütz and  Wutlich who held the lead. But all the Austrians needed to do was put in a time within 0.1 seconds of the Germans, and victory would be theirs.

Instead, they took a further 0.2 seconds out of them, seizing victory by nearly a third of a second over the two runs. It was Austria's first victory in the competition for more than four decades. 

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