Geisenberger leads German sweep in luge opener in Austria


IGLS, Austria (AP) – Natalie Geisenberger led a German medal sweep Saturday at the first World Cup women’s luge race of the Olympic season.

Geisenberger, the reigning Olympic champion, earned her 39th career win on tour to extend her record. Dajana Eitberger was second and Tatjana Huefner third to complete the 1-2-3 finish for Germany, which also swept the medals in last season’s World Cup opener.

Geisenberger’s two-run time was 1 minute, 20.488 seconds. Eitberger finished in 1:20.661 and Huefner in 1:20.664.

Erin Hamlin of the U.S. was second after the first run, but a disastrous, wobbling start to her second run sent her freefalling to 21st place. Emily Sweeney was the top U.S. finisher, 14th.

Germany’s big day continued in the doubles race later in the day when Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won in 1:19.843 after posting the fastest run in both heats. Italy’s Ludwig Rieder and Patrick Rastner were second in 1:20.021, and the German team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt was third in 1:20.258.

It was the 21st consecutive World Cup doubles victory for a German sled, a streak that started late in the 2015-16 season. It was also the 12th win in the last 15 World Cup races for Eggert and Benecken.

As was the case with Hamlin in the women’s race, the top U.S. medal hope in doubles made a big mistake. Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman finished last in the 23-sled field after finishing more than three seconds – an enormous margin in luge – behind the leaders in the first heat.

Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk were 13th for the U.S., one place ahead of Jake Hyrns and Anthony Espinoza.