When it comes to luge, you can’t really root for an underdog because the team from Germany is so absolutely dominant it leaves no room for doubt.
It’s the same thing in this coming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month where Germany is expected to take home the gold again.
For instance, of the total luge events in the Olympics, 31 have been won by Germany (including the former East and West). Italy was at far second when it won seven. Austria has five and the Soviet Union won all of one medal.
Sasha Benecken said dominance is a double-edged sword. “We’re always under pressure but the pressure we put on ourselves is much tougher.”
Next month, Felix Loch will be gunning for his third gold medal while Natalie Geisenberger will try to repeat another gold-medal performance in the singles events.
However, Wolfgang Harder, International Luge Federation (FIL) spokesman, said that the games will be tougher this time around becaues of growing competition. He credited this to the mentoring program that is encouraged by the association.
“Small countries that are unable to hire coaches and technicians on their own send their athletes to established luge nations like Germany, Austria or Latvia, where they receive the best support,” he said.
Among the names to look out for in Pyeongchang are Roman Repilov of Russia and Alexander Ferlazzo of Australia who both won gold medals at the Junior World Championships. Both also benefitted from the mentoring program of the FIL.
Erin Hamlin of the US team also took home the bronze medal at the Sochi Games four years ago, which means she could pull off an upset.
Nevertheless, any betting man would be hard pressed not to pick Germany in singles, doubles and relay competitions. Luge remains a sport that’s Germany’s to lose until the rest of the world catches up.