KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Furiously fast and fluid, Felix Loch is an Olympic gold medalist again.
And at 24, he’s only just begun.
Germany’s newest luging lord locked up the title he won four years ago in Vancouver on Sunday by easily beating a field of racers he left in his icy wake. Loch completed four runs down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 3 minutes, 27.562 seconds - 0.476 seconds ahead of Russia’s Albert Demchenko, who won the silver in his seventh Olympics.
Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler won the bronze, giving him a record six in six games.
He dominated and delivered.
“Unbelievable. It’s so crazy for me,” Loch said. “I don’t have any words, but yeah, it’s so cool.”
With IOC President Thomas Bach and German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer in attendance, Loch showed why there’s no one currently in his class. Not even close.
On his third trip down, Loch completed the 17-curve course in 51.613 seconds, bettering the track record he set on his second run a day earlier. It was going to take a major mistake for anyone to reel in Loch, but he was precise throughout his descent, staying away from the walls and trouble.
Demchenko, who won silver at the 2006 Turin Games and had a raucous crowd backing him, needed to find speed anywhere he could on his home track. But when he posted a time of 51.707 seconds, Loch’s lead had swelled to 0.388 seconds.
Loch’s final trip was essentially a victory lap.
He paddled down the start ramp, the spiked fingertips of his gloves digging into the slick surface. Loch stole one last look at the pristine ice before him before lying back and weaving his way to an easy victory. After crossing the finish line, he pumped both fists and let out a scream.
The 42-year-old Demchenko was nearly as excited with his silver, and as he celebrated Russian fans chanted “Four more years!” in hopes he’ll keep sliding.