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German Felix Loch wins luge Olympic gold medal

Felix Loch on the luge

Germany's Loch wins luge gold

Germany secured a one-two finish in the men's luge with Felix Loch securing gold and compatriot David Moeller silver at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

Loch, held a narrow lead going into the final action on day three, and just missed out on the course record.

Defending champion Armin Zoeggeler sealed the bronze but celebrations were tinged with sadness after the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Friday.

Britain's AJ Rosen just missed out on a top-15 finish, ending in 16th place.

Rosen dropped one place on his final run meaning he failed to equal the best result by a British luger, which remains the 15th place finish by Jeremy Palmer-Tomkinson at Lake Placid in 1980.

Loch, 20, went down last and recorded a time of three minutes 13.085 seconds to seal an emotional victory in Vancouver.

Italy's Zoeggeler had been favourite to win a third successive Olympic gold medal to match the feat of former German master slider Georg Hackl.

But the 20-year-old police officer from Germany was a class apart as he extended his lead to win by 0.679 seconds.

The action at the Whistler Sliding Centre only went ahead after changes were made to the track following the death of Georgian Kumaritashvili during a training run.

Afterwards Rosen said he believed the race would be the last of its kind in the men's sport.

"From what I've heard they won't build any tracks as fast as this in the future," said Rosen.

Felix Loch
Loch held a narrow lead ahead of Sunday's final action

"It was a really fast track and I don't think we will ever encounter a course like this again."

The decision to significantly cut the racers' average speeds by lowering the start gate to the one usually used in women's competition did not meet with the universal approval of the athletes and effectively handed the medals to the powerful German pair.

But the changes swiftly made in the light of tragedy certainly paid off with no major crashes for the duration of the four runs of the actual competition.

Rosen added: "Start-wise I don't think it was that good but I agree that they had to do something.

"It (Kumaritashvili's accident) definitely wasn't nice to see but I think overall we're here for sliding."

Rosen's performance had to be put in the context of an horrific crash he suffered on the same Whistler track at the start of the season, when he dislocated his hip and ruptured his sciatic nerve.

Now 25-year-old Rosen says he will begin the long process of preparing for the Sochi Games in four years' time, when he hopes his relative youth will help him make improvements on his position in Vancouver.

Rosen added: "Hopefully with some additional funding there's no reason why I can't be in Sochi. A lot of the top lugers are in their thirties and I'm only 25 so there's still a long time for me to go.

"I've had a lot of ups and downs and overall I've been happy with my performance. You can always go faster but to be honest four months ago I didn't know if I was going to actually be here. It was a lot of hard work but it really paid off."

BBC Sport luge guide

Winter Olympics guide - Luge

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see also
Georgian pulls out of luge event
14 Feb 10 |  Luge
Olympic luger dies after crashing
13 Feb 10 |  Luge
Olympics open after luge tragedy
13 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Day-by-day guide to the Winter Olympics
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Sliding into Olympic position
09 Mar 09 |  Luge
Event guide: Luge
10 Jan 06 |  Luge

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