Natalie Geisenberger has made it official: She’s heading to the Beijing Games and seeking her third consecutive Olympic women’s luge gold medal.
The German slider, generally regarded as the best in the history of his sport, considered skipping the Olympics for a number of reasons – including human rights issues, and his belief that luge athletes were being treated by the Chinese authorities. Wasn’t well behaved when training at the start of this season. ,
But in a social media post on Monday, the four-time world champion and eight-time World Cup overall champion gave his reasons for deciding to compete in his final Olympics.
“We athletes have nothing to do with Beijing’s decision to award the Olympic Games – the (International Olympic Committee) decides and we athletes are presented with a fine achievement,” Gisenberger wrote. “We only have one choice: do I fly there and give my all or do I just let my sporting dreams get so close to the end.”
She chose to go and will be considered one of the top medal candidates – along with fellow Germans Julia Taubitz and Anna Bereiter, Austria’s Madeleine Eagle and American sliders Summer Bricher and Emily Sweeney.
Geisenberger and nearly all of the world’s top luge athletes were at the Yanqing Sliding Center north of Beijing for extended training on the Olympic track, followed by the first World Cup race of the season. But shortly after leaving China, Geisenberger told German regional broadcaster BR that she was considering skipping the Olympics.,
“The conditions we experienced don’t necessarily favor going back there again,” Geisenberger told BR in December.
She spent several days in quarantine after arriving in China in November for a three-week training and racing period. She arrived there on a charter flight that originally took the entire International Luge Federation circuit to China for those incidents, then wound up between sliders identified as possible close contact with someone aboard that flight and Tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite testing negative daily, Geisenberger said rules set by Chinese authorities mandated that he would not be allowed to leave his room for several days except during training sessions. She also said that the food spilled outside her door was not up to the standard that elite athletes need or want.
“If I had just said I didn’t fly, nothing would have changed in China, neither the human rights situation nor anything else,” Geisenberger wrote on Monday. “Unfortunately, it takes more than just a few athletes to make a boycott. Then I would have destroyed my own dream in the first place. The name would have been somewhere else on the list of results.”
“It should not be the case that athletes now have to pay for what the IOC and politicians decided 10 years ago,” she said. “Hence my decision to fly to Beijing.”
Geisenberger became a mother for the first time since the 2018 Olympics, missed a year of competition, then returned to the World Cup circuit in 2022. She said that her family has made a lot of sacrifices on this Olympic journey and she doesn’t want to let that turn her down by not competing.
She turned 34 on February 5, the first full day of competition at the Beijing Games.
“The Olympic Games are not just any event,” she said. “It’s the biggest for almost every athlete and nothing can compare to it in terms of sport. I can’t say ‘then I’ll just go next year’ – there are only Olympic Games every four years.” Huh.”
Geisenberger is fourth in the Women’s World Cup standings this season, with one race left, coming to St Moritz, Switzerland, this weekend. She has won medals in 11 races this season four times – three silver, one bronze.
More Associated Press Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics And https://twitter.com/AP_Sports