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Olympics / Sports

Germany's Feix Loch (10) slides to the gold medal in the fourth heat of the men's single luge competition at the Sanki Sliding Centre during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (Chuck Myers/MCT)

Germany's Loch again wins luge gold

SOCHI, Russia -- Felix Loch of Germany executed two perfect luge runs to successfully defend his Olympic title Sunday, while Albert Demchenko of Russia and Italy's Armin Zoeggeler wrote themselves into the history books.

Loch bested Demchenko by .48 seconds over four runs and Zoeggeler by 1.27 seconds. He jumped off his sled at the end race and performed a Risky Business-esque slide down the deceleration zone in his track shoes.

"It was very difficult, in Russian territory, against Russia and against Armin," Loch said. "I'm so relieved now."

Demchenko, who took silver, became the oldest medalist in an individual event at the Winter Games at the age of 42 years and 74 days. He earned his first Olympic medal, a silver, in 2006 in Torino.

"I'm glad that I got the silver medal," he said. "All medals, no matter any medals, at Olympics are special."

Zoeggeler won bronze, becoming the sport's most-decorated athlete. His medal -- his sixth in a career that includes gold in Turin and Salt Lake City -- also makes him the first athlete in any sport to win medals at six Olympic Winter Games.

The Italian superstar, who intends to retire, appeared visibly moved by the crowd's loud adoration after his last run at the Sanki Sliding Center.

"This is good for me, good for the sport, good for Italy," he said. "It's very nice, I'm happy with this medal. I have had a good time."

Demchenko stopped short of announcing his retirement after the race, but hinted that he wouldn't be competing four years from now in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I might be at the next Olympics as coach," he said.

Chris Mazdzer produced the U.S. Team's best performance, ending up in the 13th place. He finished in the same spot during the Vancouver Games four years ago.

"The last run I really tried to go for it," he said. "Unfortunately a really good run still puts you a few thousandths of a second away."

U.S. sliders Tucker West and Aidan Kelly finished 22nd and 24th respectively.

Loch, Demchenko, Zoeggeler and Mazdzer will have another chance at a medal Thursday when they compete for their respective countries in the team relay.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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