Calgary (pps) The victory series of Germany’s women lugers, quite ironically, snapped in the 100th event. After 88 successes in the Viessmann Luge World Cup, three victories at Olympic Games (1998, 2002 and 2006) as well as eight wins at World Championships (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008) Germany’s women, usually pampered by success, were forced to cope with a defeat on the highest level. Austria’s Andrea Tagwerker was the last non-German luger to earn a success on the artificial track in Koenigssee, Germany, on November 29, 1997.
This is why US luger Erin Hamlin went down in the history of the International Luge Federation, FIL, especially since she moreover earned the first World Championship title in the women’s singles for the US federation, USAL. “It will surely take a while until I’ll really understand what happened”, said the 22-year old student after her historical feat. In 1993, Hamlin’s compatriot Wendel Suckow earned the first ever US World Championship title in Calgary. World silver medallist Natalie Geisenberger of Germany, however, described the defeat as a “kind of shock”.
As former luge head coach, Thomas Schwab set Germany’s unique winning series in motion, since last summer he acts as Sports Director and Secretary General with the German Bobsleigh and Sled Sports Federation, BSD. When Schwab congratulated US coach Wolfgang Schaedler he commented: “I know exactly why I quit last year.”
Defending his World Championship title, Felix Loch prevented the biggest German “luge disaster” of the past 31 years - since the Worlds in Imst in 1978. At that time Italy’s Paul Hildgartner, Vera Sosulya and Dainis Bremse/Aigars Krikis of the former USSR took the titles in the three Olympic disciplines.
Even though Felix Loch earned his second World Championship gold medal, his best result in the Viessmann Luge World Cup, however, are three second places in Cesana (Italy), Altenberg and Oberhof (both in Germany). Prior to the penultimate World Cup event in Calgary, the still youngest World champion of all times therefore announced: “It’s time to earn a World Cup victory.”
In the double-seater, „Lake Placid specialists“ Gerhard Plankensteiner-Oswald Haselrieder of Italy, who climbed the podium at the past three Viessmann Luge World Cup events at the foot of Mount van Houvenberg, “replaced” their compatriots and the current overall World Cup leaders Christian Oberstolz-Patrick Gruber, who once again failed to grab a medal. “World Championships seem to be jinxed. It just never works out”, explained Patrick Gruber.