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Austria’s Prock Wins European Luge

January 13, 2002

ALTENBERG, Germany (AP) _ Markus Prock of Austria won the singles luge title Sunday at the European championships, with three-time Olympic champion George Hackl of Germany finishing fourth.

This was Prock’s third European title, the others coming in 1994 and 1998. He has won the overall World Cup title nine times.

German Dennis Geppert was second, 0.11 behind. Italian world champion Armin Zoeggeler was third, 0.281 off the pace.

Prock, twice runner-up to Hackl at the Olympics, set a track record of 54.610 seconds on his first heat. He was timed in 1 minute, 49.610 seconds, for two runs.

``Prock has the best knowledge of the Salt Lake City course, he’s the man to beat,″ said Hackl, who trailed his rival by 0.322 seconds.

For all his success, Prock has been in the shadow of Hackl at the Olympics. As the German collected three gold medals, Prock finished second both in 1992 and 1994 and fourth in 1998.

The German team won the other two events over the weekend. Sylke Otto led a sweep by her compatriots of the top four places in women’s singles, and Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch took the men’s doubles.

Prock insists he is not the gold medal favorite for next month’s Olympics.

``Hackl is the leader of the German superpower,″ Prock said.

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