Germany took home the gold medal in the first ever Olympic luge relay.
All three of the team's runs were under 56 seconds and they finished 1.03 seconds ahead of everyone else in the competition. This completes a clean sweep in luge for the Germans, who won gold in all four events plus an additional silver in women's.
LUGE: The German dream team of Geisenberger, Loch and Wendl/Arlt win gold in the team relay event. That's 4/4 golds for Germany in the luge.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) February 13, 2014
Russia earned a silver medal in this event behind a great run by Albert Demchenko, who also won silver in the men's competition. Latvia finished with a bronze medal thanks in part to doubles stars Andris and Juris Sics.
Here is a look at the top 10 of the event, courtesy of Sochi2014.com:
This brand new event combines women's, men's and doubles luge into one fast-paced competition. After one athlete finishes the run, he or she will hit a pad above the track to open the gates up top. R.J. Rico of NBC Olympics discusses what makes this difficult:
If the pad is missed, the team is automatically disqualified. Additionally, every competitor is expected to go mistake-free to ensure the best time possible in the one and only run.
These variables truly made the event open for anyone to win.
One of the pads was damaged, as Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports showed on Twitter:
The pad got beat up. They're taking it down. I want it. pic.twitter.com/Fo3gzLroAh— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 13, 2014
The United States was one team that had a good feeling about this competition. Erin Hamlin—who became the first American to win an individual luge medal with her bronze—explained to the Associated Press via NBCOlympics.com, "We do get into it more than a lot of teams, I think. We love that aspect of being a team."
While Hamlin put up an impressive split to start the race, Christopher Mazdzer could not keep the pace. By the time Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman finished, they were too far back to medal.
Canada was also looking for its first ever medal in luge, but Mark MacKinnon of Globe Sports notes that the team finished just outside of the running:
Canada misses the medals again on the luge track, will finish fourth or fifth in team relay.— Mark MacKinnon (@MarkMacKinSochi) February 13, 2014
Still, it was the Germans who entered the day as the clear favorite after dominating the individual competitions at the Games. Felix Loch won the men's event, Natalie Geisenberger took gold in the women's race while Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl were victorious in doubles.
Although there were still two teams to go after Germany finished their run, they were certain they had won gold with their celebration:
No one was able to beat them and the Germans secured yet another gold medal to end an incredible week at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi. Meanwhile, Russia should be proud of a great finish as the host earned its second luge medal of the Olympics.
Most importantly, this new event was incredibly popular and quickly gained plenty of fans, including former bobsledder Bree Schaaf:
With this much excitement right away, there is little doubt this will continue to grow over the next four years and beyond.
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