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Laura Nolte wins gold in Winterberg

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Laura Nolte wins gold in Winterberg

At halftime on Saturday, Laura Nolte found it difficult to smile. The two-man Olympic champion, who is considered to have a sunny disposition and remains optimistic even when something seems to be going very wrong, had to expect at this point to have to withdraw from the first decision of the World Championships in Winterberg after two of four runs due to an injury.

When pushing the monobob before driving through the channel, the adductor problems that the defending champion had previously experienced flared up again. After two bumpy rounds in the interim rankings, she was in fourth place. That evening, there was a discussion in the internal circle about whether the winter athlete, who has been living and training in Frankfurt for almost two years, should forego further appearances as a soloist in favor of the more important two-man bobsleigh decision next weekend.

Half a day later, Nolte got out of her vehicle with a big grin, stretched her arms up in celebration and shortly afterwards started jumping for joy. Brother Tom, who was working as a DJ at his sister’s home track, quickly found the right music for the dance of the new and old monobob world champion.

Tough athlete

In the third run early in the morning, Laura Nolte shot to the top of the field with the best time. In the final she didn’t let the gold be taken out of her hand and won with a total time of 3:54.77 minutes.

“A lot was possible, and a lot has become,” said Laura Nolte in a hoarse voice shortly after crossing the finish line in Winterberg. “I’m very happy that it worked out,” here, where she learned the fine craft of sledding, in front of her audience with family and friends, “that has huge meaning for me.”

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It was only after warming up in the morning, just a few moments before taking to the slippery floor, that the tough athlete decided to go through with the competition. The physiotherapists had worked on her for two and a half hours the evening before, and the Unna native was treated several times on the final day.

Laura Nolte races to gold in the monobob. : Image: EPA

Perhaps it was the pulling in her muscles that distracted her from the pressure and gave her the lightness she needed as she rode down the train. Turn nine in particular, which is well known to specialists as a tricky spot, was particularly difficult for Nolte on the opening day. “But I can still manage it,” said the Olympic fourth-place finisher in the small sled. She should prove it emphatically.

Teammate Lisa Buckwitz, who secured bronze behind the 39-year-old American Elana Meyers Taylor (0.18 seconds behind) with a gap of 0.23 seconds to Nolte, suffered from the weather conditions as the leader on Sunday. Freshly fallen snow covered the track, and the Berliner’s runners first had to cut through the frozen water.

The Australian Breeana Walker, who is part of the Frankfurter Eintracht winter sports department, could have snatched the medal from the Berliner, but she failed in the last run and the 31-year-old had to settle for fourth place.

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Kim Kalicki from Wiesbaden, whose World Cup start in the monobob was not certain for a long time, came twelfth and viewed the races as a good test for the two-man competition, in which she wants to repeat her triumph from last year. Handicapped by a torn meniscus and an inflamed back, the 26-year-old is looking forward to the end of the season in March in order to thoroughly recover.

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