German luger Felix Loch used to be a medal favorite going into the Pyeongchang Olympics.
But one unsuitable flip can have value him the gold – he skidded up in opposition to the wall in Curve nine at the Olympic sliding observe and completed in 5th position, giving the race to an Austrian.
He’s now not the one one. Olympic sliders had been speaking concerning the notorious Curve nine for the reason that observe first opened in Pyeongchang in 2016 and it’s put a damper on a number of medal hopefuls’ plans to this point.
Here’s what makes it so tricky.
It may now not seem like a lot in comparison to the hairpin turns in different places at the path. But it’s tough, now not as it’s a refined curve, however on account of its period: it’s tricky to carry the right kind perspective for all of the flip, lugers say.
“To put it in the simplest terms, the curve’s just too long for how much pressure we have in there,” mentioned American luger Tucker West.
“We lose pressure quickly, and that causes us to go sideways.”
The curve may also have value him a shot at an Olympic medal after he wasn’t ready to take it in his first run.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge coming in,” West mentioned Saturday evening, now not lengthy after the run that he’ll be replaying in his thoughts for a minimum of the foreseeable long run. “I was getting confident with it throughout the week. I nailed it six runs in a row. Just made an unfortunate mistake … and I paid for it.”
American luger Emily Sweeney mentioned it’s like riding on a slanted highway, however having your automobile getting pulled in a route clear of the best way you’re steerage.
Sweeney used to be any other sufferer of Curve nine. In her remaining run on Tuesday, she misplaced keep an eye on across the curve and started careening in every single place the observe. She then slid toes-first up a flip towards the observe roof sooner than getting thrown from her sled and sooner or later tumbling to a prevent.
Many within the crowd regarded on the displays, horrified. The stands have been full of enthusiasts cheering raucously, and they in an instant went silent ready for some form of signal that Sweeney can be all proper.
It took a number of mins for the luger to get to her toes, then a number of extra sooner than she may just in the end get started a sluggish stroll to the end house — surrounded by way of workforce and on-web site clinical team of workers.
“I’ve never been so relieved than when I saw her getting up and walking,” mentioned American teammate Summer Britcher, choking again tears.
Curve nine has been an issue for sliders all over the early portion of the Olympics, inflicting many to skid, lose keep an eye on and lose a while. Crashes, alternatively, have now not come as steadily as they did within the 2006 and 2010 Games, either one of which left athletes overtly complaining about observe protection. Bobsledders, lugers and skeleton athletes all use the similar observe, regardless that they get started from other issues alongside it.
–With information from the Associated Press
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