LUDWIG AND KINDL DOWN TO THE WIRE
LUGE MEN'S SINGLES MEDALISTS AT THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS:
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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 luge singles bronze to 2022 gold.
First to race his third run, Ludwig came in hot at 133 kilometers per hour (approximately 82.6 miles per hour) down the track deemed "The Snow Dragon." The German immediately broke his own course record from the previous day with a blistering 57.043-second run.
With it all on the line as the last to race, Ludwig laid down a cool 57.191 seconds in Run 4. It was enough to keep second-place finisher Wolfgang Kindl at bay.
The victory makes Ludwig, who turns 36 on February 14th, the oldest men's singles luge champion.
Still, Kindl -- a five-time World Championships medalist from Austria -- finally won Olympic silver after finishing ninth at each of the last three Games. The pressure certainly didn't crush the 33-year-old in what might very well be his last Olympic appearance.
Italy's Dominik Fischnaller -- who finished sixth at Sochi 2014, and missed the podium at PyeongChang 2018 by an agonizing 0.002 seconds -- also earned a long-awaited bronze medal in a dramatic finish. Scraping off every possible thousandth of a second in Heat 4, he let out a roar and hugged girlfriend Emily Sweeney when all was said and done.
Felix Loch, the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 winner, finished fourth this time around -- one step up from PyeongChang 2018, but still miles away from a medal. He's likely to retire following these Games.
David Gleirscher, who surprised with singles gold at PyeongChang, performed poorly following injuries sustained on the World Cup tour. He finished 15th.
The bottom line: Chris Mazdzer cracked the top 10, and all three American men's singles lugers finished within the top 20.
In his first Sunday run, Mazdzer laid down a speedy 57.779 at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He matched that exact time in his final heat, solidifying an eighth-place finish.
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 go around, Mazdzer still finished strong -- 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 start of today's runs, looked to crack the top 10. A big bump in the third run 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 snuck into the top 20 -- and earned a fourth run -- ultimately finishing 19th.