Luge maestro Loch hails the appliance of science
Newly crowned double Olympic champion Felix Loch says that the appliance of science combined with human talent has helped keep the German team at the pinnacle of the luge events.
The Germans - spearheaded by Loch and Natalie Geisenberger - are by far the most successful luge nation in Olympic history and are once again proving that they are the force to be reckoned with at Sochi 2014.
The statistics make impressive reading. To date the Germans have won 70 medals out of 117 since the sport was introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1964.
Newly crowned double Olympic champion Loch puts the success partly down to the use of advanced training methods. “One should have the distinct understanding of physics to achieve serious progress in luge,” said the 24-year-old, who clinched a second Olympic gold on Sunday, a month after winning his third straight World Cup title.
“I have spent much time in the aerodynamic tunnel seeking for a position with the smallest air resistance,” he said. “Besides, you need to adjust your style to the influence of multi-directional forces on your body. “And most of all you need to produce hundreds of descents to obtain the comprehensive feeling and control over your luge.”
Another important factor, according to Loch, is an ability to keep concentration at the track: “It's vital to keep complete concentration during the descent even though it's not an easy task," he said.
Italy's two-time Olympic champion Armin Zöggeler, who dominated the sport before being ousted by the young German pretender, has called Loch a natural who has honed his skills with hard work. “He is a true natural talent,” says the Italian. “His body's physical characteristics are almost ideal for luge and with his tremendous working abilities he rose to the star position pretty quickly.”
Opportunities to shine
Geisenberger, 26, who has won back-to-back World Cup titles and took Olympic bronze in women's singles at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, says that the German camp benefits from top facilities and as well as a deep pool of talent.
“We have plenty of opportunities for practising as there are four sliding facilities in Germany and plenty of young talent, who not only want to show themselves in our sport but also have such a chance.
"We also have everything we need for practice," she added. "Top-ranked managers, classy equipment, and plenty of time for training, and that's the main reason for our success."
And the overall strength of the Germans will also make them real favourites in the new team relay event, which makes its debut in Sochi, and which will include one man, one woman and a doubles pair.