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Roundup: Armin Zoeggeler, Felix Loch share luge stage

Whether Armin Zoeggeler is the best luger ever is debatable.

Except at the Olympics.

Under the five rings, no one did it better.

Zoeggeler is now the only person with six Olympic luge medals after winning a bronze Sunday night at the Sochi Games to break a tie with German legend Georg Hackl atop the all-time standings. Zoeggeler’s final time was 3 minutes, 28.797 seconds, placing him 1.271 seconds behind German gold medalist Felix Loch and 0.795 seconds slower than Russian silver medalist Albert Demchenko.

‘‘I have really had a good time,’’ said Zoeggeler, the only athlete to medal at six Winter Olympics.


Zoeggeler, 40, now has two golds, a silver, and three bronzes in his Olympic career, which is all but certain to end in Sochi. But his medal total still may grow if, as expected, he represents Italy when the team relay makes its debut in the Games program on Feb. 13 — exactly 20 years from the date where he made his Olympic debut in Lillehammer.

Speaking after the event, Hackl, now a German coach, acknowledged Zoeggeler’s achievement, but added, “In overall medal standings, gold is what counts the most. I have three.”

Loch joined Hackl and Zoeggeler as the only athletes to repeat as Olympic titlists. At 24, Loch could one day stand alone as the best his sport has ever seen. He defeated Demchenko by 0.476 seconds. Demchenko, 42, is the oldest Winter Games medalist in an individual event.

Ski jumping

Men’s normal hill individual — Kamil Stoch of Poland made a stunning first-round jump to take control of the event in Krasnaya Polyana, and nearly matched that distance on his second jump to take the gold medal.

Down the hill last among 50 starters in the first round, Stoch, this season’s World Cup leader, had a jump of 105.5 meters, 4 meters better than Anders Bardal of Norway. Stoch, 26, jumped 103.5 meters in the second round to give him the best jumps in each round.


Peter Prevc of Slovenia, the 2013 world champion, overtook Bardal in the second round to take the silver, 12.7 points behind Stoch. Bardal settled for the bronze. Simon Amman of Switzerland, the defending champion who was seeking a record fifth Olympic gold medal, finished 17th.


Women’s 3,000 meters — Ireen Wust claimed a speedskating gold medal at her third straight Winter Olympics, knocking off defending champion Martina Sablikova. That made the Netherlands 2 for 2 at Adler Arena, the world’s dominant speedskating nation living up to its billing through the first weekend in Sochi.

Skating in the next-to-last pairing on sea-level ice that wore down some other top contenders, including Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, Wust looked strong all the way through. She won with a time of 4 minutes, 0.34 seconds, easily beating the time the Czech Republic’s Sablikova had just put up in the previous pairing.

Sablikova settled for the silver in 4:01.95, clapping for her rival after Wust crossed the line. The bronze went to Olga Graf, who gave host Russia its first medal of the Winter Games in 4:03.47. Pechstein was looking to win her 10th Olympic medal at age 41, but faded badly over the final laps and finished fourth.

Cross-country skiing

Men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon — Dario Cologna of Switzerland posted the strongest finish of any racer in the field, pulling away from his rivals at the top of the last uphill section before holding off defending champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden on the final straight for the gold medal.


It was quite an achievement for someone who had surgery in November to repair an ankle ligament and only returned to competition last month. Cologna finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 15.4 seconds, with Hellner was 0.4 seconds behind to win silver. Cologna won gold in the 15K freestyle in Vancouver.

Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway beat Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin in a tight sprint for the bronze that led to a protest from the Russian team, which argued the Norwegian had impeded Vylegzhanin by crossing into his lane just before the finish line. A jury upheld the results but gave Sundby a written reprimand, saying he had broken the rules but did not affect the results.


Women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint — Anastasiya Kuzmina, a Russian national competing for Slovakia, became the first woman to successfully defend an individual Olympic biathlon title by winning gold in the 7.5-kilometer sprint in Krasnaya Polyana.

Kuzmina shot flawlessly and finished in 21 minutes, 6.8 seconds for her third Olympic medal. She also took silver in the pursuit in Vancouver four years ago. Olga Vilukhina of Russia trailed Kuzmina by 19.9 seconds to win silver, and Vita Semerenko of Ukraine was 21.7 behind for bronze.

Kuzmina dedicated the victory to her brother, Anton Shipulin of Russia, who a day earlier faulted on his very last shot, squandered his lead, and finished fourth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint.