Recap: Olympic Winter sports Sunday

Natalie Geisenberger and Ryoyu Kobayashi were just some of the stars in action this Sunday (23 January) as the Winter World Cup season continues across the globe. Relive all the action on as the build-up to the Olympic Winter Games gathers pace. Beijing 2022 starts on 4 February 2022.

By Ockert de Villiers
Picture by Jan Hetfleisch

Natalie Geisenberger and Ryoyu Kobayashi were in action Sunday (23 January) as the winter season continued with biathlon, ski jumping, freestyle skiing and luge.

Read on for the news and results from World Cup competitions as athletes prepare for Beijing 2022.

Ski jumping: Geiger leaps to second consecutive gold

Karl Geigercapped a superb weekend at home in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany with a second victory in a row at the Ski Jumping World Cup on Sunday. 

The German high flyer was in fourth place going into the second round of jumping with Japan’sRyoyu Kobayashileading the field. Kobayashi looked set to get back to winning ways with a first-round jump of 135.3m.

However, Geiger stepped up a gear on his second attempt landing a jump of 143m (151.1 points) for a combined winning score of 282.7 points. 

The podium was the same as the day before with Slovenia’sAnze Lanisek (280.50 points) again finishing as runner-up with Germany’s Markus Eisenbichlerfinishing third.

Geiger leads the overall World Cup standings ahead of runner-up Kobayashi and the third-placed Halvor Egner Granerud of Norway.

READ MORE:Olympic ski jumping at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

Biathlon: Wierer bags first World Cup win of the season

Dorothea Wierer raced to her first victory of the season, winning gold in the women’s 12.5 km mass start at the Biathlon World Cup at home in Antholz, Italy.

The Italian Olympic bronze medallist stepped onto the podium for the first time this season in the sprint event at last week’s World Cup in Ruhpolding.

She followed it up with a gutsy performance on home snow, fighting her way from 14th place and two penalties into the top spot courtesy of two clean standing stages to win in a time of 35:58.7.

Wierer finished 3.7 seconds ahead of Belarusian Dzinara Alimbekava, with Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France finishing third.

READ MORE: Olympic biathlon at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

Luge: Latvia wins Team Relay World Cup

A young Latvian quartet surprised some of the favourites to win the Team Relay World Cup in St Moritz, Switzerland, to bring the season to an emphatic close. 

Elina Iena Vitola and Kristers Aparjods in the singles sleighs and the doubles pair of Martins Bots and Roberts Plume won with a combined time of 2:47.101 to edge Germany into second place. 

Germany, with a star-studded team consisting of Natalie Geisenberger, Johannes Ludwig, and Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken, won silver 0.127s behind Latvia. The Russian team of Tatyana Ivanova, Roman Repilov and Andrei Bogdanov/Iurii Prokhorov finished in third place.

As a consolation, Germany won the overall World Cup in the relay event on 476 points, with Latvia finishing the season in second place. 

Disaster struck for Austria when Madeleine Egle missed the touchpad on the opening leg, ultimately costing them a shot at the podium and the top spot on the overall rankings.

READ MORE: Olympic luge at Beijing 2022 - Top things to know

Ski cross: Naeslund and Regez claim back-to-back victories

The second day of action at the Ski Cross World Cup in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, delivered a strong sense of déjà vu with two-time world champion Sandra Naeslund and Swiss skier Ryan Regez claiming back-to-back wins.

Naeslund produced another commanding victory pulling ahead from the get-go, leaving the rest of the field chasing her shadow. The battle second and third place took a disastrous turn with Naeslund’s compatriot and Saturday’s runner-up Alexandra Edebo taking a tumble, with Austria's Katrin Ofner going down with her on the final straight. French skier Jade Grillet Aubert avoided the entanglement to finish second behind Naeslund, with Ofner bagging bronze.

Naeslund tightened her vice-like grip on the overall World Cup rankings after claiming her ninth win of the season. She tops the rankings on 950 points extending her lead over the second-placed Fanny Smith of Switzerland to 384 points.

The men’s big final had its fair share of drama, with Regez winning his second gold medal in as many days claiming victory in a photo finish.

Regez and Swedish athlete David Mobaerg were engrossed in a tight battle with the latter getting an early edge. Mobaerg managed to fend off an early challenge from Regez and looked set to win. However, Regez finished strong to pip Mobaerg by a hair’s breadth for his second victory of the season. Mobaerg had to be content with the silver medal with Francois Place of France finishing third.

The victory nudged Regez into first place on the overall World Cup rankings with Frenchman Terence Tchiknavorian in second place, equal on 477 points.

READ MORE: Olympic freestyle skiing at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

Biathlon: Norway win men's 4x7.5km relay in Italy

Norway dominated the weekend’s relays with both the men’s and women’s teams striking gold at the Biathlon World Cup in Antholz, Italy. 

The Norwegian quartet of Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tarjei Boe and Sturla Holm Laegreid won the men’s 4x7.5km a day after the women claimed the top step of the podium. 

Norway was in dominant form, winning in a time of 1:12:14.7, with anchor Christiansen finishing nearly two minutes ahead of the second-placed Russian team. The German quartet, with four spares, finished third 2:04.4 behind the winners.

France held a narrow lead after the first exchange before Tarjei Boe edged ahead, with Norway stretching their advantage as the race progressed with Christiansen claiming the victory.

READ MORE: Olympic biathlon at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

Luge: Geisenberger leaves best for last

Germany's four-time Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger left the best for last, clinching her first singles victory of the season at the Luge World Cup in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Her return to the podium in the last World Cup race of the season should give the legendary slider a shot in the arm ahead of Beijing 2022, where she will be looking for a historic threepeat in the singles event.

The four-time Olympic champion was in fine fettle in St Moritz, where she posted the fastest times on both her runs for a combined winning time of 1:48.190. She finished 0.155s ahead of Austrian star Madeleine Egle, who claimed her eighth consecutive podium finish, in second place. Latvia's Elina Ieva Vitola was the third-fastest luger on the day to earn her the bronze medal.

The pacesetting German Julia Taubitz had to be content with fourth place but still clinched the overall World Cup title. Geisenberger's win saw her move into third place, with Egle occupying the second spot on the overall rankings.

READ MORE: Olympic luge at Beijing 2022 - Top things to know


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