KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Germany made it a clean sweep on the gold-medal luge podium.
The Germans won the luge team relay in the event's Olympic debut on Thursday to secure vgold in all four luge discliplines at the Sochi Olympics: men's, women's, doubles and team relay.
Russia took silver and Latvia bronze as luge events conclude at Sanki Sliding Center. The USA finished sixth.
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The International Luge Federation introduced team relay to the World Cup circuit in 2009-10 to create more excitement for the sport.
Felix Loch, Natalie Geisenberger and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt — all gold medalists in their events — combined to win the relay event. The result was expected: Germany captured the World Cup points title in relay, winning four of the six events, and its top lugers are clearly better than the field.
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"This is the greatest moment in my life," said German coach Norbert Loch, Felix's father. When Felix won gold in 2010 it was great but this is even better.
"I have known these kids since they were small children. They almost grew up with me because they probably spent more time with me than they did with their parents, and that's why this gold medal today is such a special feeling."
The event works similarly to other relay events where a competitor can't take off until a teammate reaches a certain point.
Here's how it works for luge. Each nation has three four participants: a men's and women's luger and a doubles team. A singles racer goes first and has to hit a touch pad just after the finish line before the doubles team can leave the start area.
At the start, there is a gate and if a competitor hits the gate before a teammate hits the touchpad, the team is disqualified. A team also is disqualified if a slider fails to hit the touchpad at the bottom of the track.
There were no DQs on Thursday. Only more German luge dominance.
"Getting this event in the Games is great for luge in general," said American Erin Hamlin, who won bronze in singles. "The fans are really into it.
"I really like the team atmosphere. It's really fun to celebrate together."
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