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Luge great Zoeggeler eyes one more golden moment

2019年1月17日 / by admin

Dubbed “The Cannibal” for devouring the opposition in a career that has brought two Olympic titles, a silver medal and two bronzes, six world titles and 57 individual victories, Zoeggeler is hungry for one final hurrah.

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The policeman, who started natural track luging at the tender age of seven, will proudly carry his country’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony before starting his golden quest the following day.

“The Olympic track is very challenging and it will not be easy to win a place on the podium, but I will do my best for it,” he told Reuters.

Zoeggeler regards the Olympics as an “absolute highlight” and can make history as the first winter Olympian to win six successive medals in a single event.

His dedication to training and the “intoxicating joy” he feels at winning medals ensures he is always well prepared.

“Only through self-discipline and iron training during the summer it is possible to still be there (competing at the top level) and the fun factor in the sport should also not be discounted,” he said.

“My good health, coupled with joy of tobogganing and my desire to be the best, has helped me stay in professional sport for so long.”

‘GREAT FEELING’

Zoeggeler, whose Olympic golds came in 2002 and 2006 – only German great Georg Hackl has more with three – has enjoyed a consistent season with two World Cup wins and two podium finishes.

His performances earned him second place overall behind defending Olympic champion and gold medal favourite Felix Loch of Germany.

In the final race before Sochi, Zoeggeler claimed a third European title.

Although Loch was absent, the Italian was still thrilled.

“Even though the best German lugers were missing, it’s still a great feeling to travel to the Olympic Games with such a victory,” he said.

Both Loch and Zoeggeler looked sharp in their first training runs at the Sanki Sliding Centre on Wednesday, with the German fastest of all on the first slide and the Italian posting the quickest time on the second run.

As well as the formidable challenge from Loch and German compatriot David Moeller, the silver medallist in Whistler four years ago, Zoeggeler hailed young Italian Dominik Fischnaller as the man to succeed him.

“The young German athletes and also my team mate Dominik Fischnaller are top fit and they will not make it easy for me to reach the podium in Sochi,” he said.

His thoughts have turned to retirement as a professional athlete.

“I have some ideas of what I want to do in my career, but I have not decided yet what the future looks like,” he said.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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