Geisenberger retains luge title in style

Dominant in the women’s luge since 2013, Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger successfully defended her Olympic title at PyeongChang 2018 on Tuesday 13 February, producing a typically commanding performance at the Alpensia Sliding Centre.

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Geisenberger, the reigning six-time World Cup champion, seven-time world champion and a double gold medallist at Sochi 2014, headed the field after the first two runs and extended her lead to three tenths of a second after the third descent.

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Having  finished outside the top two only twice in 13 World Cup races this season, the peerless German maintained her poise on run four to win a second consecutive gold in the event by a comfortable margin from compatriot Dajana Eitberger. In doing so, the 30-year-old secured her nation’s sixth consecutive Olympic gold in the event, a sequence dating back to Nagano 1998.

“The secret was to have four clean runs,” said Geisenberger after cementing her status as luge’s most decorated woman of all time.

The first time I was here everyone said that if you have four clean runs, you will fight for the medals. That was the secret. I had four clean runs. I had four very strong starts, and I’m just happy that I’m Olympic champion all over again. Natalie Geisenberger Germany - Natalie Geisenberger Germany

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“I can’t describe it,” said Eitberger on winning her silver. “I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach. I’m a little bit hungry too, so it’s a good mix. I’m very happy about it.”

First for Canada

Canada’s Alex Gough completed the top three to claim a first ever women’s luge singles medal for her country, while Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Tatjana Hufner of Germany finished just out of the medals in fourth.

The Canadian endured a nervous wait for her bronze, which was only secured when Hufner finished outside her time on the final run. Revealing her emotions during that wait, Gough said: “Disappointment, right through to complete elation. Coming down behind Dajana after the fourth run and knowing with two sleds to go it was probably a fourth-place finish… I’m just over the moon.”

The highest finisher of the seven former Winter Youth Olympic Games athletes taking part in the event was Austria’s Madeleine Egle. A singles bronze medallist at Lillehammer 2016, Egle came home in a creditable tenth, one place ahead of Innsbruck 2012 veteran Andrea Votter of Italy.