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YANQING, China — Germany's Natalie Geisenberger, the most decorated woman in luge, held her nerve where rivals crashed to set a new track record, claim gold in Tuesday's singles, and extend her nation's dominance of the event to 24 years.
Teammate Anna Berreiter took the silver while Tatiana Ivanova of the Russian Olympic Committee won bronze.
Though a German gold could have been predicted, crashes by several favorites on Monday night made for a more uncertain race.
With lugers hurtling down the track at speeds of 129 km, using their limbs to make minor tweaks to the trajectory of their descent, a tiny mistake can be catastrophic.
Germany's Julia Taubitz, winner of the last World Cup season, led the pack on her first run, before flipping and skidding near the finish line on the second on Monday.
After a twitchy third run, her fourth again showed her real talent, taking her from 14th on Monday night to a seventh place finish.
Austria's Madeleine Egle, second best in the World Cup, also clawed back from a first run crash, rising just shy of the medals in fourth.
It was Ivanova's first Olympic medal since her silver in Sochi in 2014.
The IOC banned her from competing and stripped the medal from her for alleged anti-doping violations in December 2017, only for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the decision a few months later, citing insufficient evidence.