German luger Geisenberger adds Canada podium win in dominant season

WHISTLER, Canada, Dec. 7 (Xinhua)-- Germany's Natalie Geisenberger maintained her perfect record in the current Viessmann Luge World Cup season by winning her fourth consecutive race Saturday.

After topping podiums in Norway, Austria and Germany earlier this season, Canada proved no different for the Munich native as she posted the fastest times in both her races at the Whistler Sliding Center to win the women's singles in 1:13.412.

Canada's Alex Gough got the home crowd excited in taking the silver medal in 1:13.545, while Germany's Anke Wishchnewski was third, 0.210 off the pace in the tight field. Fellow German Tatjana Hufner was a close fourth, 0.233 off the lead.

"I was doing everything right today. My sled is good, my start was good, the line was nearly perfect. Everything was nearly perfect and that is why you can win," Geisenberger said.

After capturing her first overall luge World Cup championship last season when she won six races and was runner-up three times, the 25-year-old will be going into Russia as the overwhelming favorite at the Sochi Olympic Games.

In 2010, Geisenberger won the bronze medal at Whistler in the Vancouver Winter Olympics as a 21-year-old.

"Everyone tells me that I should be the favourite at Sochi. There is pressure because I am expected to win, and that's my fight," she said.

Gough is another shouldering the high expectations of a nation after coming home without a medal in her two previous Olympic appearances. Since finishing 18th in the Vancouver Winter Games, however, her performance has greatly improved in capturing two World Cup events and a bronze at last year's world championships.

Saturday's runner-up finish was her best performance at Whistler.

"It is always nice to get on the podium, but it is definitely a good feeling to have my best result ever here," Gough said.

"I felt really good at the start. I pulled really good starts. The second run wasn't as great as I wanted it to be, but I put it together, had two good consistent runs and the result I wanted."

After capturing the men's singles and doubles event Friday, Germany made it a clean sweep in Whistler Saturday in taking the team relay event in 2:03.791.

Canada sliders (2:04.202) won the silver, while Austria (2:04.686) took the bronze.

The lugers now travel to Park City, Utah, for the final World Cup next weekend before the holiday break.