KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The relationship between German gold-medal luger Natalie Geisenberger and bronze medalist Tatjana Hufner is frostier than a beer stein.
After Geisenberger won gold at the Sanki Sliding Center on Tuesday, Geisenberger and Hufner barely acknowledged each other, offering limp handshakes and forced hugs.
Hufner blasted the German luge federation at the medalists’ news conference.
“I think Natalie received more training from the federation. She was the favorite,” Hufner said. “I have been preparing myself over the last three years with my coach Andre Florschuetz, but he wasn’t allowed to continue to coach me, and that irritated me.”.
Hufner won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and bronze at the 2006 Torino Olympics. Geisenberger won bronze in Vancouver but has been dominant the past two seasons, winning the 2013 world championship and the 2013-14 World Cup points title. She won seven of the eight World Cup events in which she raced this season.
“If you consider the last two years, on one side there was my health and on the other all the discussions in the coach team,” Hufner said. “They didn’t make it easy for me, so considering all of that, I got the maximum out of it.”.
Geisenberger tried to stay clear of Hufner’s complaints.
“I’ve never heard or felt favoritism in the federation. I have nothing to complain about, not my coach or the federation,” Geisenberger said. “I don’t want to comment on this, I don’t want to start a fight or to continue a fight that has already started, I have other things to do.”.
Hufner said she may continue luge “If I can still motivate myself and depending on my health and the politics within the German bobsleigh and luge federation,” she said.
Since luge joined the Olympic program in 1964, German women have won 31 of a possible 42 medals, including gold in the past five Olympics.
“We Germans don’t have to worry about the future,” Hufner said. “We have a good junior program and good talent to come. And we have four tracks, so there’s nothing to worry about.
“Germany is a fighting nation, and we’ve been prominent in this sport for a long time. Every ingredient is there for the country to continue its dominant position.”.