SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A superstar team of Germans won the first Olympic luge relay Thursday and the members of that squad all became double gold medal winners at the Sochi Games.
Germany thus finished a sweep of the four gold medals in Olympic luge, the first sport to complete its program at these Games.
The luge relay was one of 12 new activities at the 2014 Olympics. Each of the 12 countries entered in the event put together a team of one woman, one man and a men's doubles squad.
Those three sleds went down the ice in succession and the combined time determined the medals.
In the regular luge events there are multiple runs for each of the competitors. In the relay, however, there was just one chance to get it right or wrong.
The Germans were expected to get it right, since their team was made up of competitors who had already won a gold medal this year -- Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch and the twosome of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt.
Sure enough, their combined efforts produced a time of 2:45.649. That was more than a second faster than the silver-medal effort of the Russian team. Latvia came in third.
Each of the three legs turned in by the Germans was quicker than any other country could produce.
Erin Hamlin, who won the first luge medal ever for an American woman earlier in the Olympics when she finished third, had the second fastest leadoff time behind that of Eeisenberger.
The other two legs of the American team could not keep pace, however, and the United States finished sixth.