Russia’s luge relay team grab gold medals and social media glory
On the last day of luge events at the St. Moritz Olympia Bob Run, Russia swept to gold in the team relay, adding to their impressive medal collection from the three days of competition.
With medals in the men’s and women’s singles as well as the men’s doubles events, this has been a strong showing from the Russian sliders. The combination of Diana Loginova, Pavel Repilov, Mikhail Karnaukhov and Iurii Chirva was equally effective in the team relay, winning the gold in 2 minutes, 54.072 seconds. Germany and Latvia took silver and bronze respectively, both adding to their own collection of luge medals from Lausanne 2020.
“We talked before the start a lot and we bumped fists,” said Loginova. “We’re a good team. I don’t know how we’ll celebrate. Maybe we’ll get a party. The Winter Youth Olympics was a great start for my career and I got 100 new subscribers on Instagram in this time. Is that the most important thing? Yeah! I am famous.”
For Germany an element of pre-race nerves took hold following a disappointing practice session on Sunday. Tensions had been running high.
“In the last run we didn’t hit the paddle [that starts the next phase of the relay],” said Valentin Steudte (GER). “We had a lot of pressure on the start because we knew we had to get it right. It worked well, so we are very excited to be back on the podium. Before the race we slapped each other on the hand and wished each other good luck, but that was all. We were very focused.”
Germany have been the most successful team in luge at the Lausanne 2020 Games. The men’s doubles team of Steudte and Moritz Jaeger won gold, Merle Malou Fraebel finished first in the women’s singles, and Jessica Doreen Degenhardt and Vanessa Schneider topped the podium in women's doubles.
Degenhardt also took silver in the women’s singles, while Timon Grancagnolo claimed bronze in the men's singles.
“Our trainers give us the very best materials,” Steudte said. “They help us in every situation. It’s quite impressive how well we work together. I have two medals now and they look great. It’s stunning to get an Olympic medal. I will keep one medal in my room at boarding school and one in my room at home. The gold medal will stay at home – I don’t want to lose that one.”