WATCH THE LUGE MEDAL EVENTS IN FULL:
After winning both singles as well as the doubles competition, Germany is almost a lock to take Thursday’s team relay competition.
Team relay will play out like a “greatest hits” package of the last five days: 2022 gold medalists Natalie Geisenberger, Johannes Ludwig, Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt will all compete. Unless one of the aforementioned athletes is “bitten” by the Yanqing National Sliding Centre’s serpentine course, commonly referred to as “The Dragon,” Germany will sweep all four luge events for the second time since team relay was introduced at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Nothing is guaranteed: Even one of the country’s best lugers, Julia Taubitz, took a surprising, nasty spill on the infamous curve 13.
Silver should belong to Austria – spearheaded by Madeleine Egle, the singles frontrunner who was bitten by The Dragon and missed a medal. The country will also race singles silver medalist Wolfgang Kindl and doubles bronze medalists Thomas Steu/Lorenz Koller. It’s harder to predict who will take third in team, but it’s likely a tossup between Latvia, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), and Italy, in that order.
At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the United States placed fourth in this event. The only returning luger is Chris Mazdzer, who finished eighth in singles on Sunday. Twelfth-place singles rookie Ashley Farquharson will also compete, as will 11th-place doubles team Zach Di Gregorio/Sean Hollander.
Given the stiff competition, Team USA may not rank quite as high at the 2022 Winter Games. This also could be the 33-year-old Mazdzer’s last Olympics race. But the young Farquharson and Di Gregorio/Hollander will gain further Olympic experience, and given their impressive results thus far, they’ll be ones to watch at Milano Cortina 2026.