Roman Repilov brought a rare smile to Russian faces as the country continues to reel from the findings of the McLaren Report as he clinched his maiden International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup victory in at the Utah Olympic Park.
The two-time junior world champion clocked the quickest time in both runs of the men’s singles event to finish at the summit of the podium for the first time in his career.
Repilov ended with a combined time of 1min 32.254sec to secure the gold medal, with Austrian Wolfgang Kindl taking home the silver medal, 0.198 seconds back.
Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller rounded off the top three as he was 0.318 seconds slower than the victorious Russian.
Kindl is now the overall leader on 336 points, with Repilov second on 322.
Germany’s Felix Loch, the double Olympic champion, is third with 315 points after he could only manage fifth place in Park City.
"I’m exhausted, but also very happy," Repilov, who completed the course in 46.167sec and then 46.087 on his second run, said.
"This win obviously takes me to a very high level, but I also train really hard.
"The Russian team has been so strong this winter because we’re concentrating on our starts and we’re also driving well."
In the men’s doubles competition, Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Austria, the reigning Olympic champions, ended the winning streak of German duo Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken to record their 36th World Cup triumph.
The Austrians clocked 44.742, while the formidable Germans, who had reigned supreme at the previous four World Cup competitions, were third.
The silver medal went the way of Latvian brothers Andris Sics and Juris Sics.
Eggert and Benecken remain the overall leaders on 470 points, 88 in front of Wendl and Arlt.
The men’s doubles event had to be shortened to a single run by organisers due to a heavy snow storm at the venue for sliding sports at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
The event is scheduled to continue tomorrow.