Lugers of the world unite to test Olympic venue
A record number of 29 nations sent teams to compete at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, as the PyeongChang 2018 venue staged the penultimate round of the FIL Luge World Cup on 18-19 February.
In December 2017, Tatyana IVANOVA of Russian Federation, competing in the Luge Women's Individual and Mixed Team Relay events, in which she ranked 7th and 2nd, and for which she was awarded one silver medal, has been disqualified from the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, in 2014 by the IOC Disciplinary Commission chaired by Mr Oswald. Please note that such decision is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
In the men’s event, there was a surprise victory for Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller. The 23-year-old clocked an overall time of 1:37.229, pipping German Andi Langenhan to victory. Three-time Olympian Sam Edney of Canada finished third after clocking 1:37.694.
Fischnaller was delighted with his win, though he denied that it meant too much in terms of his chances of Olympic success. “It's incredible,” said the Italian. “You have to get to two good runs in to get a lead here. Fortunately, I managed that, but I had a lot of luck on my side. You can’t read too much into the win here today in terms of next year. Though, of course, I would be delighted to end up back on the podium.”
Delight for Ivanova and Geisenberger
In the women’s competition, Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova claimed victory, ahead of Natalie Geisenberger of Germany, whose second place was enough to secure the overall World Cup title.
Ivanova impressed on the course, but only had the third fastest time after her first run, with the Russian clocking 46.856 seconds.
She was left trailing behind Geisenberger and fellow German Julia Taubitz, who achieved times of 46.795 and 46.825 respectively.
However, the Russian then hit back on the second run as she achieved the fastest run of the day, crossing the line in a time of 46.792. That gave her a combined time of 1 minute 33.648 seconds, 0.046 of Geisenberger.
Clean sweep for Germany in the doubles
There was more German success in the doubles competition, as Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken swept to victory, securing the overall World Cup title in the process. The duo, who are the reigning world champions, clocked an aggregate time of 1:33.581, to finish ahead of compatriots and reigning Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, while Robin Geueke and David Gamm completed an all-German podium.
“When you win gold in the World Championships and then secure the overall win in the World Cup then you are fully justified in calling yourself the best pairing in the world right now,” concluded Benecken.The German team – whose only disappointment was the absence of double Olympic champion Felix Loch through flu - rounded off a hugely successful weekend by claiming the team relay, which will be returning to the Olympic programme after a successful debut at Sochi 2014.