Berreiter wins women’s World Cup luge race in Russia
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Anna Berreiter of Germany got the win in a women’s World Cup luge race on Saturday, giving the circuit six different women who have won the six medals awarded in the season’s first two races.
Berreiter finished two runs in 1 minute, 40.649 seconds for the third World Cup victory of her career. Kendija Aparjode of Latvia was second in 1:40.756, and Viktoriia Demchenko of Russia was third in 1:40.917.
This is the first time since the 2015-16 season that the first six medals of the World Cup women’s luge season have gone to six different sliders.
Last week’s women’s winner, Madeleine Egle of Austria, was seventh. Reigning Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany was eighth. For the U.S., Summer Britcher was 10th and Ashley Farquharson finished 12th.
In the doubles race, Latvian brothers Andris Sics and Juris Sics finished two runs in 1:39.783 for their first win and second medal in as many World Cups this season. Russia got a surprise silver from the team of Andrei Bogdanov and Iurii Prokhorov in 1:39.903, while the German team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt were third in 1:40.012.
USA Luge was led in the doubles race by the team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman, who were 11th — five spots 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 how it’s tracking and steering, but things are heading in the right direction for sure,” Terdiman said.
It has been an eventful week in the luge world, complete with everything from injuries to lost sleds to even a government intervention.
Sliders and coaches left China after last weekend’s season-opening World Cup for Russia on a charter flight, but more than 30 crates of equipment — including some sleds — were held back by security officials in Beijing. That left teams scrambling to get through the week, borrowing everything from tools to tape to even helmets from other national teams.
The International Luge Federation is trying to get the missing crates to Russia this week.
Reigning World Cup overall doubles champions Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller of Austria are off the tour for what’s expected to be at least three weeks. Steu broke a foot in a training accident at Sochi this week — the second time a top luge athlete been felled by a broken foot on the Russian track this season. Mazdzer, the reigning Olympic men’s singles silver medalist, broke his foot in a training run there earlier this fall and is still dealing with the effects.
“An injury 10 weeks before the start of the Winter Games is not exactly beneficial, but grumbling won’t help,” Steu said.
The U.S. 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 anyway.
Kellogg, a member of the National Guard, was allowed to cycle out of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program earlier in the week. Active U.S. military members, such as top women’s luge hopeful Emily Sweeney, were not permitted to go to Russia for the World Cup weekends there because of current State Department policies and recommendations.
That meant Kellogg and Segger couldn’t go to Russia at first, then got clearance mid-week to rejoin the tour with the Army’s blessing because he and Segger need points to bolster their Olympic hopes and missing two World Cup weeks might doom their chances.
But Kellogg suffered a hand injury — and the sled didn’t qualify to be part of Saturday’s race.
The men’s singles and team relay will be held Sunday, before the teams race again on the 2014 Olympic track next weekend.
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