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15 Feb 1988
Calgary 1988 , Luge , Germany , IOC News

Luge - Müller makes his mark in the luge

The 1988 luge competition brought together two men who would become the discipline’s greatest exponents over the next decade: East Germany's Jens Müller and the West German Georg Hackl. Both were destined to enjoy long and very successful careers, and it was in Calgary that they first sprang to prominence.

Neither started as favourite. That mantle belonged to Austria's Markus Prock and Soviet slider Yury Kharchenko. However, the first run gave a very strong indication of what was to come. Müller went fastest, with Hackl just 0.054 seconds behind him. Kharchenko was very nearly as quick in third place, but Prock was struggling way down in eighth.

The second run saw a near repeat, with the same top three and Prock this time in fourth. Suddenly, it was clear that the pretenders to the crown weren't going to fade, and the third run saw Müller consolidate his lead as he went second quickest, ahead of Kharchenko and Hackl. Prock, this time, was down in 22nd and now out of the running for a medal of any colour. Müller now looked very comfortable and barring a serious error, the gold medal seemed to be his. The destination of the silver, by contrast, was still very much in the balance, with just 0.036 seconds separating Hackl, Kharchenko and East Germany's Thomas Jacob.

The final run decided everything. Müller went quickest once more to complete an utterly dominant victory. He had been the fastest in three out of the four runs and second fastest in the other.

Hackl finished second to take silver, as the two favourites were both slower by at least 0.3 seconds. Kharchenko took overall bronze, but it was clear that this was the start of a new era in luge.

Müller competed in the next three editions of the Winter Games, taking a bronze in 1998. He won 14 world championships medals and later turned to coaching. Hackl meanwhile was to establish himself as arguably the greatest luger of all time, taking three consecutive Olympic gold medals between 1992 and 1998, as well as another silver medal in 2002.

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