Johannes Ludwig of Germany competes during the men's race at the Luge World Cup, a test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics, at the Yanqing National Sliding Center in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
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YANQING, China (AP) — Johannes Ludwig has quickly made himself the favorite for men’s luge gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Ludwig led a German sweep of the men’s medals Saturday on the newly built Olympic track in China, winning a World Cup race by the biggest margin of any men’s, women’s or doubles race in nearly eight years. He finished two runs in 1 minute, 54.597 seconds, beating teammate Felix Loch by nearly a full second.

“Overall, I had very few mistakes,” Ludwig said.

Max Langenhan got the bronze for Germany.

Ludwig’s margin over Loch was 0.854 seconds, the biggest in a World Cup race since Loch defeated Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler by 0.863 in a race at Konigssee, Germany, in January 2014.

Typically, luge races are decided by no more than two-tenths of a second and often are much closer. The gap between first and second on Saturday was slightly less than the gap between Loch in second place and Latvia’s Riks Kristens Rozitis — who finished 12th.

USA Luge was led by Tucker West, who placed 21st. Jonny Gustafson was 25th for the U.S., which was without Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer. Still dealing with a broken foot suffered in a preseason run, Mazdzer failed to qualify for either the singles race Saturday or the doubles race with teammate Jayson Terdiman.

In the doubles race, Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken got their 47th World Cup victory by topping the Austrian team of Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller by 0.209 seconds. Latvian brothers Andris Sics and Juris Sics were another 0.220 seconds back.

Reigning Olympic doubles champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany finished ninth, after a strange end to their time in China. Arlt tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the week, which kept the German sled from finishing training. But Wendl and Arlt were allowed to race after Arlt returned multiple negative tests before Saturday.

For the U.S., Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger were 19th and Zachary Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander teamed to finish 23rd.

The World Cup weekend in China concludes Sunday with a women’s race and the team relay.


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