Natalie Geisenberger makes history at ‘House of Speed,’ wins third straight luge singles gold

Natalie Geisenberger of Team Germany celebrates winning the Women's Luge Singles - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4
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Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger made history Tuesday at the Winter Olympics’ “House of Speed,” winning her third consecutive gold medal in the women’s luge singles.

The 34-year-old Geisenberger became first female luge athlete to win three straight and the fourth woman overall to win three straight gold medals in an individual event at the Winter Olympics, joining figure skater Sonja Henie of Norway, and speed skaters Bonnie Blair (USA) and Claudia Pechstein of Germany. Also of note this week, Dutch skater and six-time Olympic gold medalist Ireen Wuest won her third career gold in the 1500m, adding to her titles from 2010 and 2018.

She also broke out of a tie for most gold medals in Olympic luge history, after having won four previous gold in singles and the team relay in both 2014 and 2018. German doubles duo Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl will compete for their fifth gold medal on Feb. 9.

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But Geisenberger’s greatest takeaway was the fact that she accomplished such feats as a mom to son, Leo, who turns 2 in May.

“I’m a five-time Olympic champion, but it is the first time as a mother – it’s just great,” said Geisenberger, who also won singles bronze in 2010, and took a year off to have Leo. “Training was done around my child. I think we did a really pretty good job as a family. To have another gold is just amazing and a very special moment.”

Geisenberger was a picture of consistency in Beijing, posting the two fastest and second-fastest times across four runs at the National Sliding Center. She recorded the fastest combined time of 3:53.454 to finish 0.493 ahead of 22-year-old teammate Anna Berreiter, who was making her Olympic debut.

“I knew, ‘OK, you have the medal, it is silver,’ then just all the pressure getting down from my shoulders, knowing I’m silver medalist at my very first Olympics,” said Berreiter regarding her tearful celebration at the finish line. “I was just super happy, and all the emotions came through my mind.”

Russian Olympic Committee’s Tatyana Ivanova took bronze in 3:54.507, earning her second Olympic medal in her third Olympic appearance after winning silver in the 2014 team relay.

Geisenberger’s win marked Germany’s seventh consecutive gold medal in women’s singles and the third consecutive Winter Games at which Germany has finished 1-2 in the event. With six medals, Geisenberger matches Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler for the most medals in luge, and she’s got a chance to increase her haul in the upcoming team relay on Thursday.

“I look forward to the team event,” said Geisenberger, who’ll be aiming for medal No. 7. “I have, again, a chance to perform here so I’m excited, (but) tomorrow I have to relax a little.”

Germany is the gold-medal favorite in the team relay, which is expected to consist of Geisenberger and Johannes Ludwig, who helped the team win gold in 2018, and two members to be announced Wednesday.

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The NBC Olympics Research team contributed to this report. 

Watch Natalie Geisenberger compete in the luge team relay at the 2022 Winter Olympics:

Event Date / Start Time (U.S. Eastern Time) Date / Start Time (China)
Luge Team Relay 2/10/22 8:30 AM 2/10/22 9:30 PM

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