Geisenberger wins luge again; Sweeney takes bronze for US

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              Germany's Natalie Geisenberger slides up the run out area after racing to a first place finish during a World Cup women's luge event in Whistler, British Columbia, on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger is still perfect in singles races this World Cup luge season.

And Emily Sweeney delivered the first U.S. medal of the year.

Geisenberger improved to 3 for 3 on the young season, with the reigning Olympic champion winning the women’s race at the World Cup stop in Whistler on Saturday. Germany’s Julia Taubitz won the silver, and Sweeney held on for third in her first race of the season.

Geisenberger’s two-run time was 1 minute, 16.904 seconds. Taubitz, who has been second in all three races on the women’s circuits this season, finished in 1:17.195. Sweeney’s time was 1:17.195.

The team relay was later Saturday, with Russia taking first, Germany — with Geisenberger getting her second medal of the day — grabbing silver and host Canada taking third.

The women’s bronze was the fifth World Cup singles medal for Sweeney, who skipped the season-opening races at Innsbruck, Austria, last weekend to train more for Whistler. And her trip to the podium was significant — since it basically announced she had moved past the way her Olympic season ended.

“I was pretty happy with the runs that I had,” Sweeney said. “To end up on the podium was fantastic.”

This World Cup was her first major race since February’s Pyeongchang Olympics. She crashed in the fourth and final heat of her Olympic debut. The frightening accident left her shaken — and some of her teammates in tears.

Sweeney lost control in a particularly treacherous spot of the Pyoengchang track, and then began careening all over the ice. She wound up sliding feet-first up one curve toward the track roof before getting thrown from her sled and eventually tumbling to a stop. After several minutes, she got to her feet and was helped off the ice.

And now she’s a medalist again.

“This was a huge relief,” Sweeney said.