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RussiaAlbert Demtschenko

BirthdateNovember 27, 1971
BirthplaceChusovoy, Soviet Union
ResidenceChusovoy, Russia
HT./WT.6'1" / 210 lbs
Olympics1992, 1994, 1998, 2002

Albert Demtschenko bio

Career highlights
Albert Demtschenko is the reigning World Cup champion in men's singles, but in his nine world championships and four Olympics, he has never won a medal at a major international competition. During his title run in the 2004-05 World Cup season, he outright won four of the eight events (Sigulda, Latvia; Oberhof, Germany; Koenigsee, Germany; and Winterberg, Germany). Despite that success, he had a disastrous performance at the 2005 World Championships in Park City, Utah. He was No. 2 in the first run but fell in his second and ended up 37th. The Soviet Union won six luge medals between 1980 and 1988, but Russia has not won any since it began competing independently in 1994.

Sampling sleds
Demtschenko competed in doubles luge through the 1998 Nagano Olympics but then chose to focus exclusively on singles. He missed the entire 2000 season and considered switching to bobsled; he even tried driving the two-man sled at the Russian Championships. But as he discovered, "I only have hands and a head (from driving luge); I don't have (fast) legs." He also considered skeleton, but said, "In skeleton you can see (the track); in luge you can't see," apparently preferring to drive blind. The visibility issue didn't deter him from competing in a World Cup skeleton race, though. During the 1999-2000 season in Winterberg, Germany, he borrowed a German skeleton sled, but didn't make the cut for the second run. (Only the top 25 advanced.) After that, he returned to Russia, where the luge coach told him to compete at the Russian luge championships. He won and his luge career was reborn.

Nagano DQ
During the singles event of the 1998 Nagano Games, he was in 10th place after two runs. A sled check after his third run revealed that his runners were above the allowable temperature and he was disqualified. He says he is still not sure how warm they were because the runners were prepared by his mechanic.

Demtschenko was born and raised in Chusovoy, a small city in the Ural Mountains where the closest track is an old wooden one. He first tried luge at age 12. "It was a small city, so everybody tried luge and Alpine skiing," he says. "I thought, 'Why not me, too?'" His father, Mikhail, is a butcher, and Albert also worked in a butcher shop for some time. He is now married and has a daughter, Viktoria.'s blogger goes behind the scenes in Torino.