PARK CITY -- More than seven years have passed since there was a tie for gold in a World Cup luge event.
While the deadlock Saturday between two Austrian doubles teams was dramatic, for two men now coaching the sport, their tie to the thousandth of a second meant the difference between a world championship and second.
On Feb. 8, 2003, the German doubles team of Patric-Fritz Leitner and Alexander Resch thought they had won the overall title after seeing No. 1 posted as they crossed the finish line in the final race of the season.
But at the same time, a big cheer went up from American contingent as Mark Grimmette and back driver Brian Martin watched on TVs in the finish area and realized their combined times were identical. The rare tie gave the Americans the 2002-03 overall world doubles title by nine points. Had they been .001 slower, the Germans would have claimed the 15 points and overall title.
"They didn't know it was a tie," recalled Grimmette, the current U.S. Sport Program Director who was watching Saturday's drama unfold and reliving his own memories. "They're celebrating. We're celebrating.
"It brought back memories. It's rare to ever tie a race to the thousandt of a second. But it's rarer to win the race (by tying) to a thousandth of a second."
Leitner, now a German luge coach, also felt himself reliving that moment in 2003.
"In the beginning, it was a good feeling, but in the end ... not so good."
For the Austrians, it was all good Saturday as Peter Penz teamed with Georg Fischler to tie teammates Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, with both teams completing the two runs at Olympic Park in Park City in a combined time of 1 minute, 27.331 seconds.
"Unbelievable," said Penz, who won his first World Cup gold with Fischler. "At first when I (looked) up at the timing, it was the first run time. Then it changed to overall time and we were first. I saw (our) teammates also in first place and yelling at us, saying, 'Perfect! Perfect!' Unbelievable. It can't be (any better)."
It was the second gold this season for the Linger brothers -- the two-time defending Olympic champions.
Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany were third in 1:27.474.
Preston Griffall and Matthew Mortensen were the top Americans, finishing fifth in 1:27.579 to qualify for the world championships.
"That's a huge relief especially now that we have a little break here for Christmas," said Griffall, who is from Salt Lake City. "We can actually take a little bit of time, relax, see the family then get back and get focused for the second half and specifically the world championships. It's pretty awesome."
Griffall said he has raced down the Olympic Park track thousands of times. "It's great to race here. We haven't had a World Cup here in four years and to be back is awesome," he said. "I had a lot of family and friends that came up, so it was pretty cool to get a top-five in front of my family and on my home track."
Mortensen was more amazed at the rare tie for first.
"It's pretty unbelievable after two runs and after about two miles of track that you tie down to the thousandth of a second," he said. "That's pretty incredible. It shows you how tight racing in this sport is."
Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman were the second-best American sled, taking sixth in 1:27.607.
The men's event Saturday night was in stark contrast as Italy's Armin Zoeggeler held a two-tenths lead after the first run and cruised to his third straight World Cup luge victory of the season and 52nd overall win.
The 36-year-old Zoeggeler completed the two runs in a combined 1:37.40. Germany's Andi Langenhan took second in 1:30.992, followed by Russia's Viktor Kneyb in 1:31.097.
"The first run was without any mistakes and allowed me to have some mistakes on the second run. But it was good enough for the victory," said Zoeggeler.
How many more wins does he have in him?
Zoeggeler couldn't say, but indicated he intended to race this year and next and make a decision year by year after that.
The only decision left for the Austrians was how much money to risk in Las Vegas.
Before heading back home for a big Christmas party, the Austrian team was headed to the Sin City for a little fun.
After scoring the rarest of feats Saturday, the odds just might be in their favor.
"We don't need luck in Vegas," said Penz, who was anxious for a little black jack. "Just don't put too much money down."