Königssee marks classic start to the 2018 Olympic year

Königssee (RWH): Luge athletes are set to kick off the Olympic year with a classic event in Königssee. The track in Königssee, Germany, was converted from a natural track into an artificial one in July 1968 at a cost of 4.8 million deutschmarks at the time (2.4 million Euro, approximately $2 million). It will now host the sixth stop on the Viessmann World Cup tour following the events in Innsbruck-Igls (AUT), Winterberg, Altenberg (both GER), Calgary (CAN) and Lake Placid (USA). The Königssee weekend will also host the fourth race in the Viessmann Team Relay World Cup presented by BMW.

Georg Hackl (GER), the only athlete to have ever won three Olympic golds in the men’s singles event, once called the track the “Streif” for luge athletes, comparing it to the legendary downhill ski race for Alpine skiers in Kitzbühel (Austria). Even after several updates, the Königssee track is still regarded as one of the most challenging ice tracks in the world.

The International Luge Federation (FIL) is due to complete its qualification process just short of a month before the opening ceremony to the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang (KOR) on February 9, 2018. All luge athletes who will compete in the Olympics are set to be named by January 24, 2018 at the latest.

Ahead of his home race in Königssee, two-time Olympic Champion Felix Loch of Germany leads the overall standings in the Viessmann World Cup with 537 points. He is followed by Austria’s World Champion Wolfgang Kindl (429) and the current European Champion Semen Pavlichenko (411). In the women’s event, 2014 Olympic Champion Natalie Geisenberger (GER) has 610 points, giving her a strong lead ahead of record-breaking World Champion Tatjana Hüfner (GER) with 515 points. Canada’s Alex Gough (453) is in third place. Due to an injury, record winning World Champion Tatjana Hüfner is forced to cancel the Viessmann World Cup in the artificial ice track of Königssee. She will be replaced by Jessica Tiebel, the 2017 Junior’s World Champion.

Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken of Germany (685) hold the top spot in the overall World Cup standings for the doubles event. Their teammates Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt (467) follow in second place ahead of Austria’s Peter Penz/Georg Fischler (416).