The queen of luge is a nickname her own coach gave her, but it’s fitting for Germany’s Natalie Geisenberg. On Tuesday when she won the women’s singles event, she became the first female luge athlete to win three straight. The 34-year-old is competing in her fourth Olympic Games. She’s just the fourth woman in any sport to win three straight gold medals in an individual event at the Winter Olympics. She also holds the title for most gold medals in Olympic luge history, with six.
“It's hard to compare Olympic medals because everyone has its own history," Geisenberger said. “My first was very, very special because it was the first. Now I'm a third-time Olympic champion, but the first time as a mother. It's just great."
The 34-year-old is in a class of her own. The luger has 52 World Cup wins. No woman has more Olympic gold medals than her. She’s also won more world championship gold medals (nine) and has more World Cup wins (seven) than any other woman.
Geisenberger’s gold medal in the team relay was significant. It helped her pass Armin Zoeggeler for the most luge medals in Olympic history with seven total medals (six gold, one bronze). The breakdown of those medals includes the aforenoted three gold, a bronze from her first Olympics in 2010 in the women’s single event and three gold medals from team relays (2014, 2018, 2022).
Despite all the sustained success, Geisenberg did do something for the first time at these Games. She was a mother. She took a year off, the 2019-20 season, from sliding to have her son, Leon.
“It was pretty hard," Geisenberger said. “My son is my No. 1. I will train as hard as I can when I have time when Leo sleeps. I think we did a pretty good job as a family."
Her race was pretty perfect. She posted the two fastest and second-fastest times in her four runs.
Her historic Olympics almost didn’t happen. Geisenberg was willing to sit out the 2022 Winter Games because she had such a horrible experience competing in China earlier this year. She even met with International Olympic Committee representatives before deciding to compete.
Luge has been a part of her life since childhood. She joined her local luge club at 10. She won 14 Junior World Cup events with three overall Junior World Cup titles and six Junior World Championship titles between 2004 and 2007.
If she weren’t so successful in luge, or if training didn’t take all her time, she’d probably be in the national police force as an officer. She has studied with the German Federal Police. She’s also been known for her passion for photography.
Geisenberg finished competition almost a week ago, but her accomplishments were worth revisiting. She leaves the 2022 Winter Games as the undisputed GOAT of luge. Her legendary status will only grow if she returns for Milano Cortina in 2026.