Team Germany has good reason to feel confident after the first two runs of the women’s singles luge event at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Monday night.
German Tatjana Huefner, who claimed bronze in Turin in 2006, improved upon her first run and finished with a lightning-fast combined time of 1:23.241, good enough for first place heading into Tuesday.
Female countryman Natalie Geisenberger, coming off a World Cup season in which she won three gold, four silver and a bronze medal, built off her strong first run and finished with a total time of 1:23.400 which was good enough for third place.
Teammate Anke Wischnewski followed suit and proved she is a force to be reckoned with by placing fifth.
Sandwiched in between Huefner and Geisenberger was Austrian Nina Reithmayer, who led the pack after the first run and finished five-tenths of a second behind Huefner’s total time.
The women’s course was altered and made 800 ft. shorter than originally planned as a result of a crash by Violeta Stramaturaru of Romania on turn 16 on Thursday morning. The crash briefly knocked her unconscious and forced her to withdraw from Olympic competition.
Canadian competitors, who had been training on the longer track, may have suffered a slight disadvantage as a result.
22-year-old Alex Gough of Calgary was widely considered to be Canada’s top medal competitor, but is sitting in a disappointing 21st place after the first two runs.
Teammates Regan Lauscher and Meaghan Simister are sitting in 20th and 25th respectively.
The semifinals will take place at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Feb. 16th at 4 p.m. ET followed by the medal round, which starts at 5:50 p.m. PT.