Unlucky curve 13 - Olympic luge racers crash out at same place on Beijing course
BEIJING — Four years after her devastating crash at the Pyeongchang Olympics, U.S. luge racer Emily Sweeney struggled again Monday on the track in the mountains outside Beijing.
She looked strong through 12 turns, but on the 13 curve she lost control and flipped.
"It's a tough spot," Sweeney said in a statement released by the U.S. luge team. "The track dips away and then you're weightless a little bit and so if you're crooked a little bit in your sled, or if you're not in a great spot, it'll get you."
Sweeney emerged without injury and will race again on Tuesday, but the crash put her well back in the standings.
She wasn't alone. Curve thirteen tripped up many of the best women sledders competing at the Yanqing venue.
Julia Taubitz from Germany, one of the top luge racers on the women's World Cup luge circuit, flipped on curve thirteen, crossing the finish line face-down with her sled on her back.
Taubitz needed medical attention and declined to speak to reporters. Norbert Loch, Germany's luge coach, said she was physically unhurt but shaken mentally by the crash.
Austria's Madeleine Egle also struggled through curve thirteen, losing so much time she starts Tuesday in seventh place.
Luge racers are competing on a newly-built track where they've had limited training opportunities over the last year because of the COVID pandemic.
Natalie Geisenberger, the German sled racer who is considered the favorite for gold, emerged unscathed after her first two runs but voiced caution going into Tuesday's final.
"I'm not thinking about this position because so many, so many crashes, so many bad situations because of exit 13," she said.
"I'm happy that I had two pretty good runs. It's a hard situation. I will maybe not sleep so well today."