Olympic Stories

Georg Hackl A Photo Finish Olympian

Georg Hackl  A Photo Finish Olympian

Some competitions are very evenly matched, and that’s what draws a lot of people in to the sport. Though with the singles men’s luge race in the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympic Games, calling the races close is quite the understatement.

Georg Hackl came out on the winning end of each race, but we’re speaking about mere fractions of seconds and mere centimeters in the results. The closest horse race on record doesn’t hold a candle to how closely these two separate luge races were contended.

Georg Hackl

Born in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, West Germany on September 9, 1966, Georg Hackl is a former luger and multi Olympic and World Championship medal winner. Hackl’s career took off after a disappointing run in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Contrary to popular belief, there are many options for lugers out there.

Not only do you have the Olympic Games and World Championships, but there are also the World Cup, Euros, and the World Wok Racing Championships.

Throughout the course of his career, Hackl has amassed well over 50 championship medals, including 5 Olympic medals (3 gold, 2 silver), and 10 World Championships gold medals. But in the history of Georg’s racing career, he never experienced the drama of the ’92 and ’94 Winter Games. 

Hackl’s Two Extremely Close Calls in the Olympic Games

The story started for this German at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. Hackl, who was amongst the favorites to win a medal, barely missed out on his first gold after losing to Jens Muller, a fellow German. Cited for the reason Hackl lost was his starting troubles. He couldn’t seem to run behind, alongside, and then hop into the sled like the other competitors. He was losing time fumbling around at the starting gate. To help with this problem, his team constructed a starting range for him, right outside of his hometown. Hackl practiced for countless hours on this new rig, hoping it would pay off in the 1992 Games.

The Winter Olympics were being held in Albertville, a long ways off from Hackl’s hometown, but he had ample practice on the championship circuit before entering the Games. Winning gold in ‘90 in the singles division and as a mixed team in ’91, Georg went into the ’92 Games with a huge head of steam and a lot of confidence. However, there was another luger at the top of his game in the ’92 Olympics, one Marcus Prock of Austria.

The two men weren’t exactly strangers, encountering one another on the championship circuit prior to the Olympics. They were very evenly matched, trading off wins in many other competitions. But in the men’s singles in ’92, it would be Hackl who won by an eyelash. The match was incredibly close. Georg’s runs collectively beat out Prock’s via the closest men’s singles match in 24 years of competition. Hackl proudly donned his gold medal, but the closest match was still yet to come.

In the years between the next Olympic Games, Hackl had continued winning on the championship circuit. In the ’94 Games in Lillehammer, Georg was doing better than ever before, ready to defeat Prock in the rematch. In the four runs each man took, Georg barely won in what would go down as the closest luge match in history. If you combined all four of the runs by each man, Hackl defeated Prock by only a few centimeters in over 5.6 kilometers of racing.

Georg was on the winning end of a close match for two Olympics in a row, and when he tried to claim his third consecutive gold medal in 1998’s Winter Olympics in Nagano, his efforts were almost declined after someone protested his yellow booties, claiming they weren’t up to code. Hackl survived the protest, however, and went on to claim his third gold in a row.

All three of Georg’s Olympic Gold Medals were very tightly contested. Two by a strong opponent, and one by a possible technicality. Although he is the proud owner of Olympic Gold, no one knows better than Hackl just how close he came to silver in all instances.

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