MANCHESTER (Reuters) – Four years on from her double Olympic gold medal success in Sochi and German luger Natalie Geisenberger shows no signs of slowing down.
The 29-year-old, who won in singles and mixed-team gold in Russia four years ago, has dominated the sport since 2013 when she won her first FIL World Cup title – a crown she has won every year since.
An Olympic bronze medalist in the singles at Vancouver 2010, Geisenberger arrived at the Winter Games in Sochi in outstanding form and lived up to all expectations.
The Bavarian police officer was fastest in all four legs of the singles competition, winning by a massive 1.139 seconds from her compatriot Tajana Huefner, the Vancouver champion in 2010.
Fast forward to this year’s World Cup campaign and little has changed — Geisenberger leads in the standings from Huefner as Germany continue to leave their rivals trailing.
The nature of the circuit means that Geisenberger finds herself in the company of the 34-year-old Huefner and her room-mate Dajana Eitberger but she says luge is no longer a topic of conversation.
“We do not talk about sledding anymore. When the room door is closed, we will talk about handbags or creams or anything else,” she told the Westfalenpost newspaper.
“You cannot spend the whole day with only racing in your head in the head”.
Born in Munich, Geisenberger grew up some 50 kilometers away in the Bavarian mountain town of Miesbach, which has a summer luge track.
She joined the Miesbach luge club at the age of 10 and went on to win 14 Junior World Cup events and six Junior World Championships.
It may have taken time to overtake Huefner as the leading lady on the German team but Geisenberger showed at Sochi that she knows exactly what it takes to win on the biggest stage.
Not that she is taking anything for granted.
“I know the feeling of being at the top, and I know what I’ve had to do for it,” she said.
“You can do anything for it, but, in the end, whether it is going to be enough for a medal can not be predicted.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury