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2010 Winter Olympics: Luge Medal Favorites

In the Winter Olympics, the Germans are always expected to win gold in the luge. They have dominated the sport for over ten years. Truthfully, there are only a few countries that have ever medaled in luge — Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, and the United States. Take a look at some of the favorites from each of these countries.

Germany

Tatjana Hüfner has been dominating the sport for the last couple of years. She won Olympic bronze in 2006, she finished 2nd on the World Cup circuit in 2007, and then she won the World Luge Championship in both 2007 and 2008. In 2009, she finished the World Championship tournament in 6th position. This was the first time since 1997 that a German woman didn't win a World, Olympic, or European Championship match. She has definitely shown the potential for weakness, but she will be looking to prove herself in Vancouver.

Natalie Geisenberger is one of Germany’s best sliders. Although she is just 21 years old, she has already earned three World Championship medals and the gold at the 2008 European Championships.

Felix Loch is Germany's new rising star. In 2008, he won the World Champion title at just 18. He won again in the 2009 Championship. This was a great finish to a season in which he medaled in every race he entered.

David Möller is always in the running and is usually in the medals, but he has a hard time converting that talent into gold. Moller has finished three World Cup seasons with a silver, and he earned a silver at the World Championship. He is eager to prove that he can win when it counts the most.

Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch are the reigning World Cup Luge Champions, a title they’ve won four times. They’ve also won the World Cup title six times. But they finished a disappointing sixth at Torino, so they are planning to redeem themselves in Vancouver.

Austria

Nina Reithmayer is one of the most consistent racers on the circuit. She finished the 2008 season ranked 5th in the world. Since then, she has finished near the top in every race she's entered. This consistency might really help out at the Olympics — where the racers complete four runs instead of the two runs necessary for World Cup races.

The Linger brothers are the reigning Olympic champions. They have had a strong career, but they haven’t been as successful in recent years. They have dropped in international rankings down to third for past three years.

Italy

Armin Zoeggeler, called "il cannibale" (the cannibal) by his fans, might have more experience than anyone else on the track in Vancouver. This will be his fifth Olympics (he’s already won four Olympic medals) and he’s been winning World Championship medals since 1994. With a silver medal at this season’s World Championships, he’s proven he still has what it takes.

Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber have finished the last five years in the top three. They have competed in two Olympics, but were unable to medal. Oberstolz and Gruber have consistently performed well over time, and especially this year — they’ve already won four out of sever races this season. They will definitely be in the medals mix in Vancouver.

Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haselrieder won the bronze at the 2006 Olympics. Since then, they haven't finished a race in lower than 6th place and they are the reigning World Champions.

Russia

Albert Demtschenko is a veteran Russian slider. He’s competed in three Olympics (1994, 2002,and 2006), but he hasn’t been able to win the gold. He has won an Olympic silver medal, World Cup events, and even a World Cup Championship. He is likely to medal, the only question is what color will it be?

USA

Erin Hamlin is one of America’s best hopes for Olympic luge gold. She is the reigning World Champion. Even with the championship, she is not the favorite for the gold. Most experts consider her winning performance to have been a combination of luck and home track advantage, but it's been said that “anything can happen in luge.”

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