For 21 years every year a German sledder wins the overall World Cup. It could be over now. Because with Natalie Geisenberger, Dajana Eitberger and Tatjana Hüfner three Germans stop (temporarily). National coach Norbert Loch relies on "humility" – and on a 23-year-old runner-up.
So far, everything was explained quite simply: Luge is a sport in which about 25 women slide down an ice channel. And in the end, always a German wins. So it was not an end in sight since the late 90s – but now this certainty is shaken: Natalie Geisenberger, the best tobogganist in the world, is pregnant.
Since Dajana Eitberger also has a baby break and Tatjana Hüfner has ended her career, the German women's squad suddenly has to assemble from junior staff. "Anyone can figure out what that means," said national coach Norbert Loch: "If three seasoned women from the squad are missing, then we have to rebuild completely." And from the so often double and triple victories, please do not dream any more: "As an expectant Rodelnation we now have to become humble and bake smaller rolls." The transition will not work seamlessly. "
So Geisenberger, Hüfner and Eitberger have to be replaced – all in all they are missing on the letterhead of the German ladies: three Olympic single gold, two silver, two bronze and nine individual world championship titles for the new season , which starts on 23/24 November in Igls, plans Loch above all with Julia Taubitz, 23, who advanced to the top of the international league last season as Vice World Champion.
2022 Olympia comes too early
The other squads are likely to be Jessica Tiebel (20), Cheyenne Rosenthal (19) and Anna Berreiter (20) go. Not just for lack of alternatives, as Loch points out. "The nomination must be underpinned with performance, we do not just want to make the bus," said the 57-year-old: "But I think we'll have a lot of fun with the newcomers." But it will take some time.
Even in the past, young athletes have followed suit, but the difference is that so far they have mostly been able to grow alongside world-class athletes like Hüfner and Geisenberger. By the time of the Winter Games 2022 in Beijing, there are now two and a half years left, "there we will not yet program the new ones for the Olympic gold medal, that's not how fast they go sledding," said Loch. 2026 is rather the goal for this generation – and if all goes well, some of them will be driving in the side of Geisenberger again in Beijing.
Because the 31-year-old, who is expecting her child in April 2020, wants to return to the biggest sports stage. "Assuming our child is doing well, and it's going the way we would expect, I'd like to continue my athletic career in the pre-Olympic season," she said. And maybe this early season in cold water is even an advantage for Germany's junior female slippers.