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First Soviet champion: 'Astonishing results' await in Olympics luge

January 28, 2014, 15:18 UTC+3 28
First Soviet Olympic luge champion Vera Zozulya won her gold in the women's singles event at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York
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© EPA/PETER KLAUNZER

MOSCOW, January 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The Sochi Olympics luge tournament promises results hard to predict since riders famous on the sleds may find themselves replaced on the podium, first Soviet Olympic luge champion Vera Zozulya told Itar-Tass.

Latvian-born Zozulya won her gold in the women's singles event at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Defying predictions, she outran acknowledged East German champion Melitta Sollmann.

“The forthcoming Sochi games may turn out as unpredictable as those in 1980, when I became the champion," said Zozulya. "Many astonishing results await us here, in Krasnaya Polyana, just like it happened in the US.”

Zozulya said German lugers Felix Loch and Natalie Geisenberger, currently the luge elite and winners of the FIL World Luge Championship 2013, must prepare for tough competition in facing opponents from countries including Russia.

“Russian lugers have every chance to become medalists at Sochi," she said. "The Soviet luge team was also not among the favorites at Lake Placid but when it came to the start, we pulled our forces together and won.

"I was not the only winner. My friend, Ingrida Amantova, took the bronze medal,” said Zozulya, adding that she believed Russian athletes would shine at the most crucial moment and win.

The luge competition is scheduled for February 8. The first medal event to take place is the men’s singles.

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