Find out why the reigning world champion - who is one of the gold medal favourites for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics - loves pressure, what her pre-competition ritual is, and more!
She may only be 25, but Julia Taubitz is already a veteran of the star-studded German luge team.
The Annaberg-Buchholz native made her world championships debut in 2016 while still a teenager.
But she really made the luge community sit up and take notice at the 2019 Worlds, where she took silver medals in the women's singles and the sprint, losing out both times to teammate and legend Natalie Geisenberger.
In 2021, Taubitz converted both into gold and will go to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as one of the gold medal favourites.
But how well do you know the sliding star, who is a daredevil both on and off the ice?
Luge is serious business in Germany, and every Olympic team is sprinkled with world and Olympic champions.
One tiny mistake, and you could potentially lose your place on the team to a rival and never get it back. For some, the pressure can be too much to handle.
Not for Taubitz, however.
She recently told German publication ZDF that ‘Pressure is my motivation’, and rather than hinder her performance, it actually keeps her sharp.
Luge is often known as the fastest sport at the Winter Olympics, with athletes reaching speeds of up to 150 km/h.
It comes as no surprise therefore, that athletes like to create rituals and superstitions to make them feel as comfortable as possible before competing.
For Taubitz, this ritual is listening to a German song, whose title is translated as ‘Who Always Laughs’, before her runs.
“For me this is a real home song,” she told MDR.
“I knew it before it became so popular. We danced to it in the village disco. It suits me too, because I really laugh a lot. That's why I have a bond with my homeland.”
It’s not only on the ice that Taubitz excels.
In October 2021, the documentary film "Rodelnation Germany" was released in cinemas, with Taubitz as the protagonist.
The athlete-presenter takes viewers on a guided tour through the world of luge, talking through her backstory, and the stunning German countryside in the winter.
So how does Taubitz satisfy her passion for speed and adrenaline in the off season, or away from the mountains?
The answer is on two wheels.
In the summer, Taubitz swaps racing suits and ice for leathers and asphalt as she pounds the streets of Germany on her motorcycle.
Taubitz finished second in the Luge World Cup in Yanqing, which also doubled up as the Beijing 2022 Olympic test event.
As the track - which features the world’s first 360-degree turn - is brand new, this event provided crucial preparation ahead of the Games.
“I am one of the few athletes who knows this track,” she told MDR. “It suits me very well too. If the games can take place, my big goal would be to go home from there with precious metals.”
“The Chinese organisers have created an amazing track. It is very long and it requires a lot of feeling which is good for me. The track is perfect for me. These will be great Games.”
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