Luge at the 2010 Winter Olympics – Men's singles

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Men's singles
at the XXI Olympic Winter Games
Luge pictogram.svg
Pictogram for luge
Venue Whistler Sliding Centre
Dates 13–14 February 2010
Competitors 38 from 22 nations
Winning time 3:13.085
Medalists
Gold medal    Germany
Silver medal    Germany
Bronze medal    Italy
«2006 2014»
Luge at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Luge pictogram.svg
Events
Singles  men  women
Doubles  doubles

The men's luge at the 2010 Winter Olympics took place on 13–14 February 2010 at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, British Columbia.[1] Germany's Felix Loch was the two-time defending world champion and won the gold medal with the fastest time in each of the four runs.[2] The test event that took place at the venue was won by Germany's David Möller, who would win the silver medal in this event.[3] Italy's Armin Zöggeler was the two-time defending Olympic champion and won a bronze medal in this event.[4] The last World Cup event prior to the 2010 games took place in Cesana, Italy on 30 January 2010 and was won by Zöggeler,[5] who also won the overall World Cup title.[6]

As a consequence of the training accident that killed Nodar Kumaritashvili on 12 February 2010 officials moved the start of the men's singles competition to the women's/doubles start to reduce the speed of the racers.[7] This change was met with mixed reviews, with some participants saying that the change made them feel safer, while others complained that it gave an advantage to stronger starters.

Logistics[edit]

The Whistler Sliding Centre in June, 2008

Track[edit]

Men's singles luge at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada was held at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, British Columbia. The track was constructed between 2005 and 2008, and became the 15th competition-level track in the world. It was certified for competition in sliding sports by the International Luge Federation (FIL) and the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) in March 2008 in a process called homologation where hundreds of athletes ran the track. This was the first time many competitors at the 2010 Games were able to try the track and begin to develop strategies for it. Canadian athletes hoped that having it open two years before the Games, and having that amount of time to train on it, would give them an advantage in the Games. The Whistler Sliding Centre quickly gained a reputation as among the fastest tracks in the world.[8]

Rules and description of competition[edit]

Rules for Olympic luge competitions are set by the International Luge Federation (FIL) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They entrust 5 officials with making decisions about whether competition rules have been followed: a technical delegate, three jury members from different countries, and an international judge. These decisions are implemented and enforced by a race director, to whom the overall responsibility for running the competition is given, but who is assisted by a start leader who coordinates the starting area, a finish leader who coordinates the finish area, and a Chief of Track who is in charge of track maintenance. Under the rules, competitors were guaranteed a minimum of five official training runs in the days prior to the competition. The competition itself consists of four runs. Athletes begin their runs on their sleds at a starting block, use their hands to push themselves off in the starting area, and then on their backs on the sleds through the remainder of the course. Athletes are ranked by the speed of their times measured between their start and the finish line at the bottom of the track.[9]

Preview[edit]

In a 2 February 2010 interview with the International Luge Federation, Italy's Zöggeler predicted that Russia's Albert Demtschenko, the defending Olympic silver medalist[4] and the European champion,[10] would win the event, with the other medalists being Germany's Loch and Möller.[11] In the final results, Zöggeler edged out Demtschenko for third place.

Records[edit]

While the IOC does not consider luge times eligible for Olympic records, the International Luge Federation (FIL) does maintain records for both the start and a complete run at each track it competes.

These records were set during the test event from the men's start house for the 2010 Games on 21 February 2009.

Type[3] Date Athlete Time
Start 21 February 2009  Andi Langenhan (GER) 3.541
Track 21 February 2009  Felix Loch (GER) 46.808

Death of Nodar Kumaritashvili[edit]

During training on 12 February 2010, Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili was going at over 143 km/h (89 mph) when he crashed in the last turn and hit a steel pole. He was administered CPR at the track, then taken away to hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Training was immediately stopped.[12] As a result, the start of the men's single competition was moved to the women's/doubles' start to reduce speed and the wall at corner where Kumaritashvili crashed was raised.[7]

Investigations conducted the same day concluded that the accident was not caused by deficiencies in the track. As a preventative measure, the walls at the exit of curve 16 were to be raised and a change in the ice profile would be made.[13] A joint statement was issued by the FIL, the International Olympic Committee, and the Vancouver Organizing Committee over Kurmaitasvili's death with training suspended for the rest of that day.[14] According to the Coroners Service of British Columbia and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the cause was to Kumaritashvili coming out of turn 15 late and not compensating for turn 16.[15] Because of this fatality, an extra 40 yd (37 m) of wall was added after the end of Turn 16 and the ice profile was changed.[15] It also moved the men's singles luge event from its starthouse to the one for both the women's singles and men's doubles event.[16] Kumaritashvili is the first Olympic athlete to die at the Winter Olympics in training since the death of Nicolas Bochatay during a speed skiing practice at the 1992 Winter Olympics[16] and the first luger to die in a practice event at the Winter Olympics since Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski of Great Britain was killed at the luge track used for the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.[17] It was also luge's first fatality (on an artificial track[18]) since 10 December 1975, when an Italian luger was killed.[19] Kumaritavili's teammate Levan Gureshidze withdrew prior to the first run of the event.[18]

The women's singles and men's doubles start was moved to the Junior start house of the track, located after turn 5.[20] Germany's Natalie Geisenberger complained that it was not a women's start but more of a kinder ("child" in German) start. Her teammate Tatjana Hüfner who had the fastest speed on two runs of 82.3 mph (132.4 km/h) stated that the new start position "..does not help good starters like myself".[20] American Erin Hamlin stated the track was still demanding even after the distance was lessened from 1,193 to 953 m (3,914 to 3,127 ft) and that athletes were still hitting 80 mph (130 km/h).[20] However, media reports noted that as a result of the changes there were no major crashes during the men's singles competition.[21]

Despite the changes, and celebrations by the victorious athletes, Kumaritashvili's death overshadowed the race. Some athletes who participated in the competition said they were scared during their runs, and welcomed the track changes. Others criticized the changes as having given an advantage to stronger starters like the German participants, as opposed to weaker starters who would have benefited from having a longer course.[22] Argentina's Ruben Gonzalez said, "God blessed the Germans today."[22]

On 23 March 2010, FIL President Fendt, VANOC President John Furlong, 2010 men's singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany visited Kumaritashvili's grave in his hometown of Bakuriani to pay respects as part of tradition in the Georgian Othrodox Church.[23]

The FIL published their reports in regards to Kumaritashvili's death on 12 April 2010 following the FIL Commissions Meeting in St. Leonhard, Austria (near Salzburg) for both sport and technical commissions on 9–11 April 2010.[24] This report was prepared by Romstad and Claire DelNegro, Vice-President Sport Artificial Track, who is from the United States.[24]

Qualifying athletes[edit]

Forty athletes qualified for the men's singles event as of 4 February 2010.[25]

Results[edit]

The first two runs took place on 13 February 2010 at 17:00 PST and 19:00 PST.[1] On 14 February 2010, the final two runs took place at 13:00 PST and 15:00 PST.[1][26]

Time listed at top in italics is start time while time below is the track time. SR - Start Record. TR - Track Record. Top finishes in both times are in boldface.

Loch ended Zöggeler's two straight championships with the fastest times in each of the four runs to become the youngest Olympic champion ever in luge.[22] Zöggeler's fifth medal in this event matched that of Georg Hackl, now a coach on the German team, who won three golds and two silvers between 1988 and 2002. The winning margin of victory was the second largest in this event in Winter Olympics history with Paul Hildgartner of Italy's win over Sergey Danilin of the then-Soviet Union at the 1984 Games being larger (0.704 seconds)[27]

Rank Bib Athlete Country Run 1[28] Run 2[29] Run 3[30] Run 4[31] Total Behind
1 Gold medal icon.svg 3 Felix Loch Germany 7.016
48.168
7.060
48.402
6.983
48.344
7.000
48.171
3:13.085 0.000
2 Silver medal icon.svg 6 David Möller Germany 7.043
48.341
7.055
48.511
7.016
48.582
6.999
48.330
3:13.764 +0.679
3 Bronze medal icon.svg 8 Armin Zöggeler Italy 7.099
48.473
7.092
48.529
7.078
48.914
7.079
48.459
3:14.375 +1.290
4 10 Albert Demtschenko Russia 7.178
48.590
7.144
48.579
7.098
48.769
7.085
48.467
3:14.405 +1.320
5 12 Andi Langenhan Germany 7.062
48.629
7.027
48.658
6.995
48.869
6.985
48.473
3:14.629 +1.544
6 7 Daniel Pfister Austria 7.111
48.583
7.118
48.707
7.087
48.883
7.076
48.553
3:14.726 +1.641
7 17 Samuel Edney Canada 7.171
48.754
7.088
48.793
7.047
48.920
7.031
48.373
3:14.840 +1.755
8 5 Tony Benshoof United States 7.143
48.657
7.146
48.747
7.107
49.010
7.031
48.714
3:15.128 +2.043
9 9 Wolfgang Kindl Austria 7.150
48.707
7.151
48.755
7.124
49.080
7.099
48.553
3:15.525 +2.130
10 21 Manuel Pfister Austria 7.184
48.677
7.194
48.835
7.159
49.064
7.122
48.693
3:15.269 +2.184
11 20 Mārtiņš Rubenis Latvia 7.194
48.818
7.172
48.831
7.145
49.210
7.133
48.809
3:15.668 +2.583
12 15 Viktor Kneib Russia 7.170
48.899
7.139
48.862
7.097
49.224
7.085
48.747
3:15.272 +2.647
13 1 Chris Mazdzer United States 7.128
48.811
7.161
48.963
7.112
49.223
7.078
48.816
3:15.813 +2.726
14 19 Jeff Christie Canada 7.128
48.881
7.155
48.904
7.109
49.308
7.088
48.730
3:15.623 +2.738
15 13 Bengt Walden United States 7.164
49.002
7.137
48.865
7.118
49.323
7.125
48.794
3:15.984 +2.899
16 22 Adam Rosen Great Britain 7.191
48.896
7.214
49.005
7.229
49.259
7.133
48.856
3:16.016 +2.931
17 11 David Mair Italy 7.148
48.978
7.150
48.989
7.105
49.367
7.119
48.845
3:16.199 +3.114
18 35 Inars Kivlenieks Latvia 7.148
48.960
7.150
49.065
7.113
49.259
7.062
48.920
3:16.204 +3.114
19 18 Stepan Fedorov Russia 7.233
49.214
7.138
48.859
7.091
49.123
7.098
49.021
3:16.217 +3.312
20 24 Ian Cockerline Canada 7.180
49.033
7.185
49.132
7.135
49.297
7.100
48.871
3:16.243 +3.158
21 4 Reinhold Rainer Italy 7.260
48.846
7.306
49.065
7.256
49.416
7.256
49.007
3:16.334 +3.349
22 23 Thomas Girod France 7.186
49.077
7.210
49.192
7.150
49.294
7.136
49.157
3:16.850 +3.765
23 30 Maciej Kurowski Poland 7.349
49.427
7.182
49.200
7.173
49.361
7.162
49.039
3:17.027 +3.942
24 14 Jozef Ninis Slovakia 7.233
49.196
7.210
49.153
7.165
49.643
7.156
49.039
3:17.414 +4.029
25 33 Ondřej Hyman Czech Republic 7.152
49.284
7.128
49.346
7.103
49.512
7.092
49.247
3:17.389 +4.304
26 36 Guntis Rekis Latvia 7.222
49.275
7.195
49.625
7.146
49.476
7.171
49.071
3:17.447 +4.362
27 29 Domen Pociecha Slovenia 7.299
49.340
7.291
49.457
7.286
49.587
7.262
49.362
3:17.746 +4.661
28 27 Jakub Hyman Czech Republic 7.226
49.379
7.235
49.726
7.202
49.465
7.186
49.231
3:17.801 +4.716
29 37 Shiva Keshavan India 7.303
49.561
7.311
49.529
7.265
49.597
7.253
49.786
3:18.473 +5.388
30 16 Takahisa Oguchi Japan 7.366
49.542
7.287
49.780
7.269
49.818
7.254
49.903
3:19.043 +5.958
31 34 Valentin Cretu Romania 7.299
49.726
7.276
50.224
7.260
49.931
7.281
49.594
3:19.475 +6.390
32 2 Stefan Höhener Switzerland 7.143
48.728
7.172
53.838
7.142
49.559
7.092
48.713
3:20.838 +7.753
33 32 Bogdan Macovei Moldova 7.373
50.425
7.362
50.175
7.299
49.931
7.386
50.331
3:21.354 +8.269
34 31 Ma Chih-hung Chinese Taipei 7.442
50.318
7.410
50.460
7.474
51.090
7.451
50.494
3:22.362 +9.277
35 25 Peter Iliev Bulgaria 7.338
50.348
7.272
50.701
7.250
50.921
7.351
50.428
3:22.398 +9.313
36 26 Lee Yong South Korea 7.430
50.549
7.386
50.607
7.397
51.012
7.358
51.128
3:23.296 +10.211
37 28 Ivan Papukchiev Bulgaria 7.527
50.932
7.428
50.909
7.343
51.105
7.323
50.386
3:23.332 +10.247
38 39 Rubén González Argentina 7.567
52.540
7.549
52.155
7.601
52.298
7.501
51.312
3:28.305 +15.220
39 38 Levan Gureshidze Georgia DNS +99.999

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 2010 Winter Olympics Luge schedule. - accessed 8 November 2009.
  2. ^ FIL-Luge.org World Luge championship medalists: 1955-2009. - accessed 8 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b FIL Luge World Cup Whistler 21 February 2009 men's singles result. - accessed 8 November 2009.
  4. ^ a b FIL-Luge.org Winter Olympic medalists: 1964-2006. - accessed 8 November 2009.
  5. ^ FIL Luge World Cup Cesana 30 January 2010 men's singles results. - accessed 30 January 2010.
  6. ^ 49th Victory for Armin Zöggeler in Viessmann Luge World Cup. at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (30 January 2010 article accessed 30 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Officials delay reopening of sliding track". CTV. February 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Training at The Whistler Sliding Centre". Vancouver 2010. 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  9. ^ "2008 Edition, International Luge Rules, Artificial Track" (pdf). International Luge Federation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  10. ^ FIL European Luge Championships 2010 men's singles results. - accessed 3 February 2010
  11. ^ Interview with Armin Zoeggler: "My favourite for the Olympic title is Albert Demchenko". at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (2 February 2010 article accessed 3 February 2010.)
  12. ^ ZINSER, LYNN (February 12, 2010). "Luge Athlete Killed in Training Crash at Olympics". New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Joint VANOC - FIL Statement on Men’s Luge Competition". Vancouver2010.com. 
  14. ^ Joined Statement of IOC, FIL, and VANOC. at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (12 February 2010 article accessed 13 February 2010.
  15. ^ a b Joint VANOC-FIL Statement on Men's Luge Competition. at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (13 February 2010 article accessed 13 February 2010.)
  16. ^ a b "Men's Olympic lugers will start lower on track". - 12 February 2010 NBCOlympics.com article accessed 13 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Luge (Toboggan): Men". In The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics: 2010 Edition. (2009). David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky, Editor. London: Aurum Press Limited. p. 158.
  18. ^ a b "Georgian luger Levan Gureshidze pulls out of event". BBC News. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  19. ^ "Luge start moved as officials defend Whistler Sliding track". Vancouver2010.com. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c "Luge-Women sliders now have kids race - German". Martyn Herman (Reuters via Yahoo! Sports). (14 February 2010 article accessed 14 February 2010.
  21. ^ Sportsmail Reporter (2010-02-15). "WINTER OLYMPICS 2010: Felix Loch wins luge gold after changes made to course following death of Nodar Kumaritashvili". Mail Online. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  22. ^ a b c Gregory, Sean (2010-02-15). "Still Fear — and Loathing — at the Luge Track". Time. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  23. ^ VANOC President Furlong, FIL President Fendt and Olympic champion Loch. at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (25 March 2010 article accessed 27 March 2010.)
  24. ^ a b FIL Final Report to be published after the Commissions meetings. at the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (25 March 2010 article accessed 27 March 2010.)
  25. ^ Vancouver2010.com luge athletes. - accessed 4 February 2010.
  26. ^ Vancouver2010.com 13 February 2010 men's luge singles start list. - accessed 13 February 2010.
  27. ^ "Luge (Toboggan): Men". In The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics: 2010 Edition. (2009). David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky, Editor. London: Aurum Press Limited. p. 159.
  28. ^ 2010 Winter Olympics 13 February 2010 Luge men's singles run 1. - accessed 14 February 2010.
  29. ^ 2010 Winter Olympics 13 February 2010 Luge men's singles run 2. - accessed 14 February 2010.
  30. ^ 2010 Winter Olympics 14 February 2010 Luge men's singles run 3. - accessed 14 February 2010.
  31. ^ 2010 Winter Olympics 14 February 2010 Luge men's singles run 4. - accessed 14 February 2010.