Fifth Olympic gold: "Toboggan Mama" Geisenberger triumphs in front of Berreiter

 

Fifth Olympic gold: "Toboggan Mama" Geisenberger triumphs in front of Berreiter

Natalie Geisenberger stayed cool on her record hunt. The "toboggan mom" glided through the Yanqing ice track as if on rails, passed the exit of the treacherous curve 13 a fourth time without any problems - and was welcomed at the finish by the jubilant German delegation. With all her experience, the record world champion raced to her fifth (!) gold medal at the Winter Games and now has her sights set on an Olympic record.

Debutante Anna Berreiter rounded off the strong German result with silver. Team D had already celebrated a double victory in Pyeongchang 2018 and Sochi 2014 with Geisenberger at the top, since 1998 the Olympic champions in the women's singles have always come from Germany. After Johannes Ludwig's triumph in the men's category, the German lugers, used to success, celebrated their second gold medal in China.

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The fact that Julia Taubitz ultimately missed the podium by a long way came as no surprise on Tuesday: After her fall the day before, the world champion fought her way up a few places to seventh place, but ultimately she was only convincing in two of four runs. Bronze went to ROC athlete Tatjana Ivanova.

With her fifth coup, in 2014 and 2018, she also won in the team, Geisenberger caught up with Claudia Pechstein after gold medals. If the German relay wins the team competition on Thursday, the 34-year-old would even leave the speed skater behind after Olympic victories and become the most successful German winter Olympian.

But what Geisenberger means a lot more: After the birth of her son Leo in May 2020, she made it back to the top of the world. After giving birth, the Bavarian quickly returned to world-class level. In Yanqing she remained almost flawless and also celebrated a victory over her own fear.

Remarkably honestly, the best female tobogganer in history spoke about her respect for curve 13, in front of this treacherous section of the world's longest toboggan run at 1475 m. Here Taubitz fell in the second round the day before, Geisenberger had the same fate in the World Cup in November and in the penultimate training session.

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"I wasn't nervous about the race, but about the curve down there," Geisenberger reported halfway through the race. Men's Olympic champion Ludwig described the point that lifts many sleds out of the wrong direction due to the round throat as an "executioner".

But Geisenberger, who also wore a necklace with her son's hand and footprints around her neck as a lucky charm during the race, kept her nerve - as did Berreiter. The 22-year-old, a passionate late sleeper, stayed wide awake in all four runs and rewarded herself with her biggest success to date.

Taubitz, on the other hand, who cursed after repeated mistakes in the third run ("So Eine Scheisse"), has to wait at least four years for her big moment on the Olympic stage. The changing of the guard in the German team did not take place in China. Olympia's queen of the ice rink remains: Natalie Geisenberger.

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