At the 2022 Winter Olympics, Germany swept all four luge disciplines for the second time since the team relay event was introduced at Sochi 2014.
In a thorough display of dominance, Germany earned gold in men's and women's singles, (open) doubles, and team relay competitions — and snatched two silvers, to boot. Three star athletes broke their records for most golds — twice — further cementing claims they are the greatest lugers of all time.
Relive all the luge history made on the Yanqing National Sliding Centre's highly technical and tricky Xiaohaituo Bobsled and Luge Track, nicknamed "The Dragon."
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It came down to the wire, but ultimately Germany's Johannes Ludwig was just too fast to catch. He upgraded his 2018 singles bronze to 2022 gold and kept second-place finisher Wolfgang Kindl at bay.
The victory made Ludwig, who turned 36 on February 14th, the oldest luge men's singles champion.
Kindl — a five-time World Championships medalist — finally won Olympic silver after finishing ninth at each of the last three Games.
Italy's Dominik Fischnaller, who missed the podium at PyeongChang 2018 by an agonizing 0.002 seconds, also earned a long-awaited bronze medal in a dramatic finish.
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Natalie Geisenberger made it look so easy, though victory would have been far less assured had frontrunner Julia Taubitz not sputtered out of the top ten during her second run.
By the fourth heat, just Geisenberger's compatriot Anna Berreiter provided a hint of concern. But Berreiter's only real path to victory involved Geisenberg pinballing against the walls or outright crashing. That didn't happen.
This marked Geisenberger's third consecutive singles win at the Olympics, and her fifth gold overall. The win extended Germany's record to seven straight women's singles golds in luge, currently the longest active streak in the Winter Olympics.
Geisenberger has competed at four Olympics starting with Vancouver 2010, but this was her first as a mother. She gave birth to a son, Leo, in 2020.
- FULL EVENT REPLAY: DOUBLES RUNS 1 AND 2
The 'Two Tobis' — Tobias Wendl and partner Tobias Arlt — brought home a third consecutive Olympics doubles title, their fifth overall gold medal. They became the first lugers to win Olympic doubles three times.
Compatriots Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken were only 0.045 seconds from the top before Run 4. Ultimately, they failed to make up the difference, securing silver with a tight, penultimate performance.
In third: 2021 World Cup overall champions Thomas Steu/Lorenz Koller of Austrria, who finished fourth at PyeongChang 2018. The duo was more than half a second from the lead.
GOLD: Natalie Geisenberger, Johannes Ludwig, Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt (GER), 3:03.406
SILVER: Madeleine Egle, Wolfgang Kindl, Thomas Steu/Lorenz Koller (AUT), 3:03.486
BRONZE: Eliza Tiruma, Kristers Aparjods, Martins Bots/Roberts Plume (LAT), 3:04.354
FULL EVENT REPLAY: TEAM RELAY
After earning luge gold in men's singles, women's singles, and doubles, Germany won the team relay event at the 2022 Winter Olympics — sweeping the sport's four events for the second time at a single Games.
It was a historic win for Geisenberger and Wendl/Arlt, in particular. All three earned an unprecedented sixth luge gold medal.
Geisenberger's medal total at the Games increased to seven — making her the most decorated luger in Olympic history.
Going last, the Germans had their work cut out for them following fast times by Austria and Latvia. The team of luge all-stars didn't have the smoothest overall run: Geisenberger finished her third of the race in the red, and Ludwig couldn't make up the difference.
In a thrilling finish, the 'Two Tobis' zoomed through the course as fast as possible – and even banged their sled with just feet to go and no time to spare.
But they did it.
The bottom line: Chris Mazdzer cracked the top 10, and all three American men's singles lugers finished within the top 20.
Mazdzer smiled as he crossed the Run 3 finish line and practically danced after Run 4. Following the third heat, he breathlessly screamed into the camera while walking off: "Awesome. Love you guys, YEAH!" After the fourth, he summed up his experience: "That feels good!"
Though he didn't earn a medal this Games, Mazdzer still finished strong in eighth place — proving he knows how to live up to big moments. The American also showed resilience, healing from a broken foot in September and disappointment that he didn't make the Olympic doubles team.
Tucker West, bleeding a little over 1.4 seconds at the midpoint, looked to crack the top 10 in his final two runs. A big bump in the third heat set him back — "It is what it is" — and a mediocre final run left him in 13th place.
Jonny Gustafson immediately hit a hard bump and lost his line in Run 3. He ultimately finishing 19th.
Team USA's Emily Sweeney still hasn't completed four total runs at a single Games, but at least she finished the 2022 Winter Olympics safe, sound — and smiling. She closed with her fastest heat of the competition and ultimately ranked 26th.
Summer Britcher ended up finishing 23rd, also missing a final heat.
Only 22-year-old Olympic rookie Ashley Farquharson cracked the top 20 and advanced to a fourth run. She ended with her fastest of four heats, finishing 12th.
"That was probably the most fun run I've had in my entire career, that second run there," Zach said. "There wasn't any big thinking other than just getting down that hill."
"It was awesome to just go out there and really just slide, it was really just a moment for us," Sean added. "It was probably the least stressed we've ever been going into a race."
The United States started off especially strong with rookie Farquharson, who took 0.548 seconds off Canada. Mazdzer bought the team another 0.14 seconds or so. But Zach Di Gregorio/Sean Hollander got banged up in "The Dragon's Tail" — the notoriously sharp curve 13. Ultimately, Team USA finished seventh.
Records, by the numbers
- Oldest Olympic luge men's singles champion (35 years, 357 days)
- The most decorated luger in Olympic history with 7 total medals
- First female luger to earn gold in 3 consecutive Games
Tobias Arlt, Tobias Wendl
- Along with Natalie Geisenberger, own the most Olympic luge golds (6)
- Swept all four luge events for the 2nd time
- 7 consecutive Olympic golds in women's singles, the longest active streak in the Winter Olympics
- German athletes (representing Germany, East Germany, and West Germany) have won 87 out of 153 possible luge medals at the Olympics; Germany proper has won 43