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Germany tops medal table thanks to luge stars

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Germany tops medal table thanks to luge stars
Germany's successful luge team celebrates. Photo: DPA
07:03 CET+01:00
Germany remains top of the medal table at the Sochi Winter Olympics with seven golds after completing a clean sweep of luge gold medals on Thursday.

The German team captured the luge relay title to complete the sweep, taking the country's total medal tally to seven golds, two silvers and one bronze.
 
Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch and the pairing of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt had already won gold in men's, women's singles and doubles respectively before making it four out of four in the new relay discipline which included one man, one woman and one doubles team.
   
"It's awesome, the greatest feeling ever," Loch said. "We have known each other since childhood and we are best friends so this is a very special feeling to win this medal together as a team."
 
"It's fantastic to be able to add another medal to the German medal tally," Geisenberger added.
   
"Normally we are individual athletes but now to become Olympic champion as a team, this is the greatest."
   
The German team clocked 2min 45.649 seconds to finish 1.030sec ahead of hosts Russia, who were represented by Tatyana Ivanova, 42-year-old Albert Demchenko and the doubles team of Alexander Denisyev with Vladislav Antonov.
   
"Two gold medals would be better than two silver medals, but two silver medals in one Olympics is very good result," said Demchenko, who also won silver medal in men's singles at his seventh Games.
   
"Now Russia is developing luge and there is hope that at the next Winter Olympics we will have more medals in all sliding sports."
   
Latvia, which featured Eliza Tiruma, Martins Rubens and brothers Andris and Juris Sics were third in 2min 47.295 seconds.
   
"Yesterday showed that we can and that gave me more certainty for today that we can do it," said Juris Sics, who also won doubles' bronze medals together with his brother.
 
 
"The best is yet to come, and we will work to perform even better at the next Olympic Winter Games," his brother Andris added.

Geisenberger won her first Olympic gold medal in women's luge singles on Tuesday and the second for her country in three days.

"I still need time to realize completely what I've done," said Geisenberger, who threw herself into the arms of compatriot Loch, who won the men's event on Sunday.

"In the fourth run when I was in the lower part of the course I understood that I had won the Olympic title and almost started to shout in joy before crossing the finishing line."

Another German, Tatjana Hüfner, who came to Sochi as reigning champion, was second, 1.139sec behind the winner, while Erin Hamlin finished in third place winning the US team's first singles medal after 50 years of trying.

The 26-year-old three-time world champion Geisenberger, who had a commanding 0.766sec lead after the first two races on Monday, finished with a combined time of three min 19.768sec after the four runs.

Her third run featured a new track record. "I'm currently in my best form ever," Geisenberger, who was third at Vancouver Games, said.

"I adjusted my style for this track though it wasn't easy to do as after curve five to six it's pretty tricky.

"I'm amazed. The chance to win Olympic title may not happen again and I'm really happy that I took this occasion to win."

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Hamlin, the 2009 world championship gold medallist, was delighted.

"It's just amazing. Before today's races I didn't allow excitement to come in. That's why I didn't feel any pressure on myself, just tried to have fun enjoying my third and second races," she said.

"Today I was hopefully paving the way for the future generations of American female lugers. And it was super motivating."

READ MORE: Loch takes Germany's first gold at Sochi

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