Natalie GEISENBERGER

Germania GER

Slittino

  • Medaglie
    6 O
    1 B
  • Partecipazioni
    4
  • Prima partecipazione
    Vancouver 2010
  • Anno di nascita
    1988
Risultati Olimpici

Biografia

Natalie GEISENBERGER

Natalie Geisenberger made history at Beijing 2022, becoming the first luger to win double gold at three consecutive Olympic Games. She also became the sport's most decorated Olympian with seven medals - six golds and one bronze - at four Games.

Born in Munich, Geisenberger grew up 50 kilometres away in the Bavarian mountain town of Miesbach, which boasts a summer luge track. A member of the local luge club from the age of 10, she went on to win 14 Junior World Cup events, three overall Junior World Cup titles and six Junior World Championship crowns between 2004 and 2007: three in the singles and three in the team event.

On moving up to the senior tour, she became European singles champion in 2008 in Cesana Pariol (ITA), where she also won an U-23 world title three years later.

Her first World Cup win came in the 2008/09 season, when she was second in the overall standings behind Tatjana Hüfner. That season, the day after her 21st birthday, she also took silver at the World Championships - where two-time reigning champion Hüfner came a disappointing sixth - and helped Germany to mixed team relay gold.

Torino 2006 bronze medallist Hüfner soon returned to form and beat Geisenberger to the next two World Cups series titles.

The youngster made her Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010 and took bronze behind Hüfner and Austria’s Nina Reithmayer.

After four consecutive years of finishing second to Hüfner in the World Cup, Geisenberger finally dethroned the five-time reigning champion with six wins and three second places in the nine races of the 2012/13 season. Significantly, Hüfner took the season finale which doubled up as a test event for the Sochi 2014 Games.

She was even more dominant in 2013/14, winning seven of the first eight races to clinch the title, enabling her to skip the final race of the season before the Olympic Winter Games.

This time, Hüfner was no match for her at the Sanki Sliding Centre with Geisenberger the only woman to break 50 seconds, something she achieved on each of the first three runs.

She was fastest on the fourth run as well to win by a massive 1.139 seconds from Hüfner with USA's Erin Hamlin, who beat Geisenberger to the world title in 2009, taking bronze.

Geisenberger said afterwards, “I knew by the time I’d reached the lower part of the course on my fourth run that I’d won the Olympic title, and I was almost screaming with joy when I crossed the finishing line.

"I'm currently in my best form ever. I adjusted my style for this track, though it wasn’t easy to do as it’s pretty tricky after curves five and six. I’m amazed. The chance to win an Olympic title may not happen again and I’m really happy that I took this opportunity."

Two days later, her strong first leg helped Germany to mixed team relay gold, repeating their 2013 world title triumph with Felix Loch and doubles kings Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, aka the Tobys.

Geisenberger was simply unstoppable after her Sochi 2014 double, and kicked on to complete six successive World Cup title wins by 2018.

Further World Championship golds also came her way in both the singles and team relay (again with Loch, Wendl and Arlt) in 2015 in Sigulda (LAT) and in 2016 in Königsee (GER), taking her collection of world titles to seven.

A keen photographer, Geisenberger made her next objective clear, posting a snap from the Olympic test event at the Alpensia Sliding Centre in February 2017 on her Facebook page, and writing: “A year to go before PyeongChang 2018."

While her victory - which came a week after she turned 30 - was not as emphatic as her Sochi triumph, Geisenberger led from start to finish to retain her title by 0.367 seconds from teammate Dajana Eitberger with Canada’s Alex Gough edging out Hüfner for bronze.

She said, "I came here having pretty much won everything there was to win. Obviously I’ve been dreaming about winning the gold, but I’ve been pretty relaxed about it. Now I've got it."

A second mixed team relay gold followed - this time with men's singles bronze medallist Johannes Ludwig after Loch's last-run error sent him down from first to fourth - to take her to five Olympic medals including four golds.

After claiming her seventh consecutive World Cup title in 2018/19, Geisenberger skipped the following season to have her first child. Son Leo was born in May 2020, and his mother was back in action six months later.

She finished second in each of her eighth races after her return with reigning champion Julia Taubitz taking the majority of them. But victories in Oberhof (GER) and Innsbruck (AUT) helped Geisenberger secure her eighth World Cup series crown.

Taubitz exacted revenge in the World Championships at Königsee, beating Geisenberger by just over a third of a second with Eitberger - also returning from childbirth - completing a German podium sweep.

The World Cup opener to the Olympic season was also a test event for Beijing 2022 at Yanqing National Sliding Centre.

Geisenberger lost control after the tricky Turn 13 on the Olympic track, and not even a better second run could stop her finishing down in 26th place.

She had to wait until the third race of the season, at Sochi, to score her first podium finish, and it was not until the last weekend of the season - two weeks before Beijing - that she recorded her first win of the campaign at St. Moritz (SUI).

Despite that, Taubitz and Madeleine Egle were the form athletes from the season with the Austrian victorious in the Yanqing test event.

Turn 13 would play its part at the Games with Geisenberger admitting to sleeping badly after crashing there in training.

But when it came to the main event, the veteran was fine with Egle crashing in the first heat and Taubitz wiping out in the second having set the track record earlier in the day.

Geisenberger said after day one, "I wasn't nervous about the race - just about exiting that corner down there on the 13th. I hope it will be better tonight and I get some sleep, but it's not easy."

If she was nervous on day two, she certainly did not show it. She took more than a tenth off the track record in heat three and was second quickest on the final run to beat fellow German Anna Berreiter by almost half a second with ROC's Tatiana Ivanova in third ahead of Egle.

"It's hard to compare Olympic medals because every one has its own history," Geisenberger said. “My first was very, very special because it was the first. Now I'm a five-time Olympic champion, but the first time as a mother. It's just great."

Five became six in the mixed team relay as she, Ludwig and the Tobys reprised their PyeongChang success despite Geisenberger not having the best opening leg.

Thanks to a solid team effort, Geisenberger and the Tobys both completed triple-doubles in Beijing, but the former's bronze at Vancouver means she stands alone as the most decorated luger in Olympic history.

Her total of seven is one clear of the Tobys and Italy's two-time men's singles champion Armin Zoeggeler.

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Beijing 2022

O
Team Relay
Team Relay Luge
O
Women's Singles
Women's Singles Luge
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PyeongChang 2018

O
Mixed Team Relay
Mixed Team Relay Luge
O
Women's Singles
Women's Singles Luge
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Sochi 2014

O
Singles
Singles Luge
O
Team Relay
Team Relay Luge
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Vancouver 2010

B
Singles
Singles Luge