Steu/Koller becomes Steu/Kindl - Austria's lugers start pre-season training

Lorenz Koller, Foto: ÖRV Wilhelm

Innsbruck (FIL/ÖRV 16 April 2023) Six weeks after the season's final, the team of the Austrian Luge Federation (ÖRV) has started its preparations for the upcoming season. Lorenz Koller is no longer part of the team. The 28-year-old Tyrolean has ended his career after a successful but also intense decade in the top sport. Koller and Vorarlberg's Thomas Steu were responsible for the red-white-red success story. The duo first hit the headlines in 2014 when they won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships in Igls. Their World Cup debut followed the following winter.

Two Olympic medals for Steu/Koller

Steu / Koller, Bronze Peking 2022

At their Olympic debut in South Korea in 2018, the duo lugged a fourth-place finish just short of a medal; four years later, they returned from Beijing with two Olympic medals, bronze in the doubles and silver in the team relay.

Two of their nine medals at Olympic Games, World and European Championships have been gold: in 2021 Steu/Koller became World Champions in Koenigssee, Germany, a year earlier they were European Champions in Lillehammer, Norway.

"Thanks to the support of my family, the federation and our partners, I was able to fulfill several dreams at the same time. We were embedded in a very professional system, it was a great time with many successful chapters for which I am incredibly grateful," said Lorenz Koller.

Steu starts new with Kindl

Thomas Steu will continue to compete in doubles. The athlete from Vorarlberg will tackle the upcoming season together with Wolfgang Kindl. Former World Champion Kindl wants to continue his career in the singles as well and will therefore compete on two tracks. The Vorarlberg native and the two-time silver medalist in Beijing (singles and team) completed the first test runs during the last ice training of the season at the end of March in La Plagne (FRA).

Wolfgang Kindl

"The departure of Lorenz and the end of our career together is of course a great pity. We have been through a lot together over the years, it was a great time that gave and will give me a lot. I am very grateful to Lorenz in many ways and can understand him very well. In the meantime I was also not sure if I would continue until I got the chance to try it with Wolfi. We had good talks with the federation and after La Plagne we know in which direction the construction of the sled has to go. In the summer we have to do our homework and in October we will start with the ice training. Then we will see how it works. In any case, it's an exciting thing, if we weren't convinced that it could work, we wouldn't do it," says Thomas Steu.

His new backdriver Wolfgang Kindl adds: "I see the start in the doubles as an additional chance and enrichment and think that it can also bring me further in the singles. I've been in the business for a long time, so an additional stimulus is never a bad thing. Thomas and I have known each other for a long time, we get along very well and we are both very ambitious and success-oriented. It's clear that the doubles-campaign can't be at the expense of my singles campaign; in case of overload, the singles has priority. However, I am convinced that my experience will help me to be successful both here and there and I am very much looking forward to the challenge".