Berreiter wins Women’s Luge World Cup in Russia
Anna Berreiter of Germany claimed victory in a Women’s World Cup luge race on Saturday, giving the circuit six different women who took home all six medals awarded in the first two races of the season.
Berreiter completed two runs in 1 minute 40.649 seconds to claim the third World Cup victory of his career. Kendija Aparjode of Latvia was second in 1: 40.756 and Viktoriia Demchenko of Russia third in 1: 40.917.
This is the first time since the 2015-16 season that the first six medals of the Women’s World Cup luge season have gone to six different sliders.
Last week’s winner, Austrian Madeleine Egle, was seventh. Reigning Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany was eighth. For the United States, Summer Britcher finished 10th and Ashley Farquharson finished 12th.
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In the doubles race, Latvian brothers Andris Šics and Juris Šics finished two heats in 1: 39.783 for their first win and second medal in as many World Cups this season. Russia took a surprise silver medal from Andrei Bogdanov and Iurii Prokhorov’s side in 1: 39.903, while the German side of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished third in 1: 40.012.
USA Luge was led in the doubles race by the team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman, who finished 11th, five places ahead of fellow Americans Zach Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander.
“We still have quite a bit of work to do with the new sled so that we are confident and comfortable with the way it is heading and heading, but things are going in the right direction for sure,” said Terdiman.
It has been a hectic week in the luge world, with everything from injuries to lost sleds to even government intervention.
The sliders and coaches left China after last weekend’s season-opening World Cup for Russia on a charter flight, but more than 30 cases of equipment – including sleds – were detained by security officials in Beijing. This left teams scrambling to make it through the week, borrowing everything from tools and duct tape to helmets from other national teams.
The International Luge Federation is trying to get the missing boxes to Russia this week.
Reigning World Cup doubles champions Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller of Austria are absent from the tour for what is expected to last at least three weeks. Steu broke his foot in a training accident in Sochi this week – the second time a top athlete has had his foot crushed on the Russian track this season. Mazdzer, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in men’s singles, broke his foot in a practice race earlier this fall and is still suffering the effects.
“An injury 10 weeks before the start of the Winter Games isn’t really good, but complaining won’t help,” Steu said.
The US doubles team of Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger started the week in Paris because they thought they weren’t eligible to slide, then ended up in Sochi, then couldn’t slide in any event.
National Guard member Kellogg was cleared to leave the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program earlier in the week. Active members of the U.S. military, such as top female luge prospect Emily Sweeney, have not been allowed to travel to Russia for World Cup weekends due to current policies and recommendations from the Department of ‘State.
This meant that Kellogg and Segger couldn’t go to Russia at first, then got permission mid-week to join the tour with the Army’s blessing because he and Segger need points to strengthen their Olympic hopes and missing two weeks of the World Cup could ruin their chances.
But Kellogg suffered a hand injury – and the sled did not qualify for Saturday’s race.
The men’s singles and team relay will take place on Sunday, before the teams race again on the 2014 Olympic track next weekend.