Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 19 News List

American Hamlin wins women’s luge at championships


Erin Hamlin of the US takes a curve during the first heat of the Women’s Luge competition at Lake Placid, New York, on Friday.


Erin Hamlin of the US stunned the world luge championships on Friday by handing the Germans their first loss in 99 women’s races.

“It was a little bit of a shock for us,” said German star Natalie Geisenberger, who won silver, 0.187 seconds behind Hamlin. “But one day we knew it would come and today is the day.”

The German women last lost on Nov. 29, 1997, in Koenigssee, Germany.

Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haselrieder of Italy won the doubles ahead of the German team of Andre Florschuetz and Torsten Wustlich. Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin of the US finished third for their sixth bronze medal at the worlds.

Hamlin won with a dominant performance at Mount Van Hoevenberg, finishing in a combined 1 minute, 28.098 seconds.

Natalia Yakushenko of Ukraine took the bronze in 1:28.334 as the top three distanced themselves from the rest of the field of 32 sleds. World Cup leader and defending women’s champion Tatjana Hufner of Germany finished sixth, nearly three-quarters of a second behind the Hamlin.

Sliding ninth on the first run, Plankensteiner and Haselrieder established themselves as the team to beat when they broke the track record, clocking 43.641 seconds. Their combined time for the two runs over the tricky layout was 1 minute, 27.401 seconds.

Florschuetz and Wustlich, silver medalists at the 2006 Turin Olympics and reigning world champions, finished in 1:27.458.

Grimmette and Martin finished in 1:27.611.

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