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No Medals for U.S. Doubles Lugers

WHISTLER, British Columbia - There was no medal for Mark Grimmette, Team USA's flag bearer, on Wednesday at Whistler Sliding Center.

In fact, there were no medals for either of the U.S. men's doubles luge teams.

Christian Niccum and Dan Joye had the best U.S. result, finishing in sixth place and 0.586 seconds behind Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria, who won gold with a time of 1 minute, 22.705 seconds.

Veterans Grimmette and Brian Martin finished 13th, in 1:24.005.

"The start kind of hindered us," Joye said. "We didn't have the best start in the first run, but going through we picked up speed."

Organizers lowered the starting spot for all luge events following the death of a 21-year-old racer from the Republic of Georgia, after he crashed in a training run on Friday.

It affected racers' speed and strategy.

But Americans Grimmette and Martin seemed to have the new start dialed in after training session earlier this week.

"(Tuesday) we had good runs," Grimmette said. "So we were encouraged. But you've got to do it on race day."

The pair struggled in its first of two runs Wednesday, and entered the final run in 11th place and a half-second behind the leaders. They finished more than a second behind the winners.

Grimmette, 39, who was competing in his fifth Games, carried the flag for the U.S. in the opening ceremony Friday.

"This was a frustrating race," he said. "But it never stops being fun. Brian and I love racing. It's fun coming down the hill fast. Sometimes it can be frustrating. Sometimes it can be disappointing. Sometimes it can be great. But it's always fun. We've had a great career."

Joye and Niccum were making their first doubles appearance as partners. They were just 0.27 seconds off the lead after one run, good enough for sixth place, which they held through the final run.

"We are the best U.S. team right now, and I'm very proud of myself," Joye said.

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