Germany complete luge double thanks to sacrifice and unity
Germany’s lugers continued their hot streak on the frozen St. Moritz Olympia Bob Run when men’s doubles team Moritz Jaeger and Valentin Steudte won their nation's second gold medal of the day.
Following Merle Malou Fraebel’s earlier success in the women’s singles, Jaeger and Steudte (above) finished ahead of Latvia’s Kaspars Rinks and Ardis Liepins with a combined time of 1 minute, 46.649 seconds over two runs. Russia’s Mikhail Karnaukhov and Iurii Chirva took bronze.
“It’s stunning to be a part of such a big thing here, such a big competition,” Steudte said. “And winning the gold medal, that’s the biggest thing that has happened in my life until now.
“I think we will celebrate this evening very well. Maybe we go out and drink something? I don’t know. Then I will go to my family and get their congrats.”
Germany’s success in this sport has as much to do with teamwork as it does technique. Steudte steers the luge, while Jaeger brakes, but familiarity and friendship have contributed to their success in St. Moritz.
“He does the rough things and the big things, and I do the little things like turning with my shoulders and steering,” Steudte said.
“We live together in the boarding school. We know each other very well and that is the key point.
“We are not really telepathic but sometimes it feels like that.”
Germany’s gold medal in the luge men’s doubles competition has been a full year in the making.
Jaeger and Steudte raced at the St. Moritz Olympia Bob Run in 2019. They eventually accumulated enough Youth World Cup points to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
“If you want to be good in your sport, you have to sacrifice much of your free time,” Jaeger said. “But the things you get out of it when you succeed are much bigger.
“It was a great feeling to win gold. It made me feel very proud.
“The secret of Germany’s success in luge? I cannot tell you.”
For the Latvians, any disappointment in finishing second was tempered by the experience of competing in a Winter YOG.
“Today was not a good race,” Liepins said. “The second place definitely makes up for it. In the first run we made a big mistake by oversteering in curve 18.
“But I am really happy to be on the podium and to have raced against my friends.”