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Team USA won the only gold medal Germany didn't get in bobsled, luge or skeleton

Germany dominated every sliding sport at the Beijing Olympics but one. And that sport didn't even exist at the Games four years ago.

BEIJING, China — The definition for dominance may need to be rewritten after what Germany did at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Germans won nearly every gold medal in the events held there over the last two weeks.

Of Germany's 27 total medals, 16 came in bobsled, luge and skeleton.

Skeleton: Germany won both golds and three medals in all; the rest of the world combined for no golds and three medals.

Luge: Germany won all four golds and six medals overall; the rest of the world combined for no golds and six medals.

Bobsled: Germany won three golds and seven medals, while the rest of the world grabbed one gold.

That one gold Germany didn't get went to American Kaillie Humphries in women's monobob. And to think, monobob wasn't an event until this year. If it hadn't been added to the Olympic program, Germany would have swept.

Coincidentally, Humphries is new to Team USA, too. The former Canadian just got her U.S. citizenship two months ago.

And even if Humphries hadn't been at the Olympics, that gold medal still would have gone to an American. The silver medalist in women's monobob was Elana Meyers Taylor.

In fact, monobob was the only sliding event in which the Germans didn't make the podium. Laura Nolte, the two-woman gold medal driver, finished fourth.

While there could be multiple explanations as to why one country would be so dominant, there is one thing that stands out about monobob. Not only are competitors sliding alone, but they’re doing so in standardized sleds provided by organizers, making the discipline a purer test of athleticism and skill while removing the advantage gained by teams using aerospace science to perfect their vehicles. 

Credit: AP
Kaillie Humphries, of the United States, right, and teammate Elana Meyers Taylor celebrate winning the gold and silver medals in the women's monobob at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

But one of the reasons the Germans are so dominant is Francesco Friedrich. He has won gold in both men's bobsled events at each of the past two Olympics.

Going back to the Pyeongchang Games, Friedrich has now won 60 of his last 73 international races — meaning Olympics, World Cups and world championships — and medaled in 69 of them. He's the seven-time defending world champion in two-man, the four-time defending world champion in four-man, a five-time World Cup two-man overall champion and four-time World Cup four-man overall champion.

Credit: AP
Francesco Friedrich, Thorsten Margis, Candy Bauer and Alexander Schueller, of Germany, start the 4-man heat 3 at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

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