Three-time world champion Natalie Geisenberger led after the first two legs of the women's Olympic luge on Monday as Erin Hamlin put the United States on course for a first ever medal after 50 years of trying.
The 26-year-old German Geisenberger clocked 1 minute 39.814 seconds for two runs at the Sanki Sliding Center for a commanding 0.766 second lead over compatriot and reigning Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner.
“I had two excellent runs tonight especially the first one, which was almost perfect,” said Geisenberger, the bronze medallist at Vancouver 2010, who also set a new track record.
Hamlin boosts hopes of maiden US podium
Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, lies third, just 0.052 seconds behind Huefner, leaving her with real hopes of winning a first ever US Olympic medal in luge singles since the sport was introduced in 1964.
The American goes into Tuesday's final two runs with a 0.216 second lead on fourth-placed Natalja Khoreva of Russia.
“I'm really happy with what I've done today,” said Hamlin. “I made some slight mistakes on the first slope, but in the break I watched it on video and it helped me to improve my performance in the second.
“I'm truly excited at having a chance to win the first ever Olympic single medal for my country. On Tuesday I'll do everything I can to keep my position.”