WINTERBERG, Germany (AP)Latvia won gold in a World Cup luge team relay on Sunday, with Austria second and the U.S. grabbing third.
The Latvian team of Eliza Tiruma, Kristers Aparjods and the doubles sled of Marlins Bots and Roberts Plume finished in 2 minutes, 24.294 seconds. Austria’s team of Madeleine Egle, Nico Gleirscher and the doubles sled of Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller was second in 2:24.652.
The Americans – Summer Britcher, Tucker West and the doubles team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman – got the bronze in 2:24.802. Germany, on home ice, managed only fourth in 2:24.955.
It was the second team relay medal of the season for USA Luge, which grabbed silver in the season-opening relay on the new track in Yanqing, China, that will be used for the Beijing Olympics next month.
Germany found the top of the podium in the women’s race earlier Sunday, with Julia Taubitz (1:53.167) rallying to overtake fellow German slider Natalie Geisenberger (1:53.408) in the second heat to claim the gold.
Egle was third for Austria. Taubitz moved 102 points ahead of Egle in the women’s overall World Cup standings with five races remaining; the margin between the two had been 72 entering Sunday.
Britcher was fifth in the women’s race, good enough to officially clinch a berth on the U.S. Olympic team. Britcher also competed in the 2014 Sochi Games and 2018 Pyeongchang Games. The full U.S. team will be formally nominated later this month.
”This race was one of the races where I was showing more kind of average potential for speed, but I was able to have a little bit of consistency with the changing weather conditions here and a little bit of luck on my side I was able to have my best regular-format World Cup result of the season,” Britcher said.
Brittney Arndt was 12th and Ashley Farquharson 16th for the U.S. women. Emily Sweeney did not finish for the Americans, crashing out in her second heat after posting some of the fastest split times of anyone in the race.
The World Cup luge series moves to Sigulda, Latvia, next weekend.
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