Sister act from Neuner and Neuner in the luge

The two main rivals for gold in the women’s luge in Albertville hailed not just from the same country, but from the same family.

Picture by Allsport

Austrian sisters Doris and Angelika Neuner had both discovered a passion for the sport at an early age. And having risen through the ranks they featured in an Austrian team that came to these Games full of optimism and armed with the latest and most innovative equipment.

Austria would go on to take four of the six available medals in the luge (two women’s and two men’s). In the women’s event two of the three medals went to the Neuner sisters.


The first run belonged to Doris. She set a time of 46.59 seconds, which was more than 0.2 seconds quicker than anyone else. Angelika was second, but aware that her sister had produced a scintillating opening run.

Conversely, Angelika was faster on the second run, but only clawed back 0.02 seconds on her sibling as the Neuners held the top two spots overnight. They were fastest again in the third run, and once more it was Angelika who went quicker, this time pulling back another 0.06 seconds. She had now beaten her sister in two out of the three runs, but still trailed overall by more than a tenth of a second. The final run, clearly, would be decisive.

This time, neither Neuner was quickest down. Instead they finished second and third on the run, with Angelika again recording a better time than her sister. But her margin was only 0.04 seconds, barely enough to make a dent in the overall lead.


It was gold for Doris, whose brilliant opening run had sealed her gold medal. She returned two years later to defend her title, but could finish only tenth and then left the sport. Angelika came fourth in 1994, third in 1998 and then, aged 32, came fourth again in 2002.