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Yan earns China’s first ever Olympic sliding medal

Yan Wengang won China’s first-ever medal in a Winter Olympics sliding event Friday as Germany continued their domination of the high-speed disciplines with Christopher Grotheer winning the men’s skeleton gold.

German racers had won all four luge events at the Beijing Games and Grotheer extended their winning streak to the men’s skeleton with a best combined time of four minutes, 01.01seconds.

“It’s unbelieveable, I am so proud,” said Grotheer.

His German teammate Axel Jungk took silver  0.66sec behind with China’s Yan making history with bronze at 0.76sec.

“This medal should make China very confident for the future of skeleton,” said Yan.

“We have home ground advantage, and that just made me feel we can’t not capitalise on that and win a medal.

“I really really wanted the gold medal, but I’m not good enough for that.

“It’s very hard to to beat Germany with their pool of talent, their resources and technology, they’re just so strong. But we never let that affect us.” 

So far, German racers have won eight of the 15 medals – including all five golds — up for grabs in the sliding events so far at these Winter Games.

“That sounds good – the Beijing track is a German track,” Grotheer said.

German racers also swept the Olympic test events last October and November on the Yanqing National Sliding Centre.

British luge athlete Rupert Staudlinger, who represents Britain but was born in Berchtesgaden and raised in the German Alps, said Gemany’s success was easily explained: “They have four tracks, a big institution which really develops sled (sports) and a tonne of staff.

“All that pays out in good results.”

Germany could also dominate the men’s bobsleigh events, which starts Monday.

Francesco Friedrich, who won gold as pilot of Germany’s two and four-man bobsleigh at the 2018 Winter Games, is the name to beat having won 14 of his 16 World Cup races this season.

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