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Luge at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games:

Women's Singles

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler
Date Started: February 15, 2010
Date Finished: February 16, 2010
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.

Gold: GER Tatjana Hüfner
Silver: AUT Nina Reithmayer
Bronze: GER Natalie Geisenberger

Summary

Germany’s female lugers had maintained their unbeaten run in all World Cup events since the Torino Games and regularly filled all three places on the podium. As such it seemed an obvious prediction that two time World Champion Tatjana Hüfner and compatriots Natalie Geisenberger and Anke Wischnewski would be the sliders to beat in Vancouver.

The main threat to German victory came from a pair of North Americans.

In February 2009 American Erin Hamlin had broken the 15-year run of German victories in major global championships by becoming the first World Champion from the USA whilst Alex Gough of Canada, 8th in the 2009-10 World Cup, had more experience on the track conditions than any other slider.

Following the tragic death of Nodar Kumaritashvili in practice it was decided that the women’s course would be over a shorter distance than originally planned, namely the junior course. This brought criticism particularly by the Canadian team, that some thought a little tactless considering the circumstances, that the contest would be turned into a lottery.

While this change was thought to favour those lugers with a more powerful start this proved only partially to be the case. The angle of the start, designed for junior races, was not designed for the power of the senior races. The racers had to make a compromise between the need to carry the speed of a powerful start and the necessity to negotiate a difficult corner without being forced up high onto the ice wall and losing all the advantage gained.

The Germans Tatjana Hüfner and Natalie Geisenberger were favoured to take the first two medals but, rather surprisingly Nina Reithmayer (AUT) led after the first run in a track record time of 41.728 seconds. However Hüfner clawed her way back to take the lead after the second run and retained her lead for the rest of the competition to take the gold medal with the fastest runs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs. Reithmayer managed to hold on to the silver medal place ahead of Geisenberger who, despite having only the 7th best time on the final run, held on to take the bronze from fast finishing [Tatiana Ivanova] (RUS).

World champion Erin Hamlin failed to cope with the changes to the circuit and placed a lowly 16th as European athletes took the first 14 places in the finishing order.

The safety of the competitors was paramount after the tragic death of Nodar Kumaritashvili on a training run but the women’s event was not entirely free of injury. Violeta Stramaturaru of Romania was knocked unconscious during a training run and the ensuing concussion forced her to withdraw from the Games.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Tatjana Hüfner 26 Germany GER Gold 2:46.524
2 Nina Reithmayer 25 Austria AUT Silver 2:47.014
3 Natalie Geisenberger 22 Germany GER Bronze 2:47.101
4 Tatyana Ivanova 18 Russia RUS 2:47.181
5 Anke Wischnewski 32 Germany GER 2:47.253
6 Aleksandra Rodionova 26 Russia RUS 2:47.456
7 Martina Kocher 24 Switzerland SUI 2:47.575
8 Ewelina Staszulonek 24 Poland POL 2:47.621
9 Maija Tīruma 26 Latvia LAT 2:47.654
10 Nataliya Khoreva 23 Russia RUS 2:47.984
11 Nataliya Yakushenko 37 Ukraine UKR 2:48.086
12 Veronika Halder 29 Austria AUT 2:48.117
13 Anna Orlova 37 Latvia LAT 2:48.305
14 Veronika Sabolová 29 Slovakia SVK 2:48.542
15 Regan Lauscher 29 Canada CAN 2:49.021
16 Erin Hamlin 23 United States USA 2:49.108
17 Julia Clukey 24 United States USA 2:49.360
18 Alex Gough 22 Canada CAN 2:49.391
19 Liliya Ludan 40 Ukraine UKR 2:49.455
20 Sandra Gasparini 19 Italy ITA 2:50.002
21 Raluca Stramaturaru 24 Romania ROU 2:50.072
22 Megan Sweeney 22 United States USA 2:50.215
23 Hannah Campbell-Pegg 27 Australia AUS 2:50.222
24 Agnese Koklača 19 Latvia LAT 2:50.388
25 Meaghan Simister 23 Canada CAN 2:50.470
26 Madoka Harada 24 Japan JPN 2:50.480
27 Jana Šišajová 25 Slovakia SVK 2:55.099
AC Mihaela Chiraș 22 Romania ROU DNF
AC Aya Yasuda 27 Japan JPN DQ