KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — On Russian ice, Germany is making itself at home.
The world's sliding superpower won its third straight gold medal in luge at the Sochi Games on Wednesday night as Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt captured the doubles competition.
Known as "The two Tobis," Wendl and Arlt completed their two trips down the Sanki Sliding center track in 1 minute, 38.933 seconds, 0.522 ahead of Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria, who were trying to become the first doubles team to win gold three times in a row.
Andris Sics and his brother, Juris, won the bronze in 1:39.790. The Sics, who won silver four years ago in Vancouver, began the second run in fifth place but jumped Canada's Tristan Walker and Justin Smith as well as Austria's Peter Fenz and Georg Fischler, who nearly crashed on their last run and dropped all the way from third to last — 5 seconds behind the champions.
Wendl and Arlt had no such issues and their last run down the 17-curve track was as clean as so many other they've made in the past few months.
"Victory lap," said Jayson Terdiman of Lake Placid, N.Y., as he and teammate Christian Niccum watched the Germans carve the ice. "It's very rare they make mistakes. They've had it all week."
"They've had it all year," added Niccum of Woodinville, Wash., who finished 11th in what was likely his final race.
Three races. Three golds. Wunderbar.
With luge legend Georg Hackl coaching the team's biggest stars, the Germans are giving this picturesque area high in the Caucasus Mountains a very Bavarian look.
Wendl and Arlt followed dominant, gold-medal winning performances by Felix Loch in men's singles and Natalie Geisenberger in the women's race with one of their own. They had a 0.312 lead over the Lingers after their first run, and only needed to avoid a major mistake on their second time down to give Germany its 10th gold in 14 doubles races since 1964.
Once they had clinched their medal, Wendl and Arlt, also referred to as "The Bayern Express" celebrated with Hackl and Germany's other coaches.
"They push us to be great," Arlt said. "We know how strong they are and we compete with them. We push each other. That's how we are great."