Top 6 Best Women's Lugers Of All Time

Luge is an extreme winter sport in which an individual or a pair of competitors lies face up on a sled and attempts to cross the finish line with the fastest time. A great luger requires flexibility, endurance, upper body strength, knowledge of the track, and steering accuracy. Luge premiered at the 1964 Olympic Games, divided into men’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s singles. Listed below are the six best women’s luge athletes of all time.


Who are the best women’s luge athletes of all time?

  1. Natalie Geisenberger
  2. Silke Kraushaar-Pielach
  3. Tatjana Hüfner
  4. Sylke Otto
  5. Margit Schumann
  6. Steffi Martin

1. Natalie Geisenberger

  • Four-time Olympic gold medalist (two individual and two team)
  • Won 50 World Cup singles (most in the history of women’s luge)
  • Achieved top three standing in 13 consecutive seasons of the World Cup

Over the past two decades, Munich-born Natalie Geisenberger has achieved world-renowned status as one of the best women’s luge athletes. She competed heavily in junior competitions, winning fourteen Junior World Cup titles before starting her senior career at 19 in 2008. Her road to international fame began when she represented her native Germany at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She won a bronze medal in the singles competition and went on to win gold medals in both singles and team relay at the following two Winter Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang. She attributes her success to focusing on the basics and having a superior support team. As of 2021, she is the most decorated athlete in the history of women’s luge.

2. Silke Kraushaar-Pielach

  • Three-time Olympic medalist (one gold, one silver, and one bronze)
  • Won 9 European Championship medals and 7 World Championship medals
  • Five-time World Cup Champion from 1999 to 2007

In the early 2000s, one of the most revered names in women’s luge was Silke Kraushaar-Pielach. Born in East Germany, she started competing at age 14. Due to the reunification process of her home country, she took a hiatus from competing professionally until 1995 and shortly after won her first national medal. She began competing on the international stage at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, winning gold in the singles event. She spent the next decade continually winning or ranking highly at both the national and international level. She retired from professional competition in 2008 with one of the best track records ever recorded in women’s luge.

3. Tatjana Hüfner

  • First woman to win five consecutive World Luge Cups
  • Five-time FIL World Championship medalist (four gold and one silver)
  • Three-time Olympic medalist (one gold, one silver, one bronze)

Over the past fifteen years, one of the most decorated competitors in women’s luge has been Tatjana Hüfner. Like most luge champions, she began competing at the junior level, consecutively winning regional championships and placing high at each Junior World Cup. After completing her education at the sports school in Oberwiesenthal, Hüfner joined the German national team and competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, winning bronze. From 2008 to 2012, she won every women’s singles competition at the FIL World Championships, making her one of the most successful competitors in the category’s history. After winning two more Olympic medals, Hüfner switched to coaching in 2020 and retired as one of the most decorated women’s luge athletes of all time.

4. Sylke Otto

  • Set the record for most wins of the Luge World Cup (her 37th in 2006)
  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist
  • Twelve-time medalist at the FIL World Luge Championships
  • Nine-time World Cup overall medalist

Sylke Otto is considered one of the best female luge athletes of all time in terms of medals. She started luging at 10, began competing at 14, and joined the German national team in the early ‘90s. From 1991 to 2007, Otto received more total awards than any other professional female luge athlete on both a national and international level. In 2002, she participated in her first Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and won the gold for women’s singles. After receiving surgery for a herniated disk, Otto returned for a second Winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin, where she received her second gold. After a record-breaking 37 total wins of the Luge World Cup, she retired in 2007.

5. Margit Schumann

  • Four-time World Luge Championships gold medalist (1973-1977)
  • Five-time European Championships medalist (1973-1979)
  • First woman to ever be inducted into the FIL Hall of Fame

Margit Schumann is considered by many to be the first great female luge athlete. She began racing competitively in 1971 and entered her first Winter Olympics a year later in Sapporo, where she was awarded a bronze in the women’s singles event. Over the next few years, she won five medals at the European Championships and four consecutive gold medals at the World Luge Championships. After the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Schumann retired and began a long career coaching youth luge and teaching child psychology. In 2004, she was the first woman to be inducted into the FIL Hall of Fame.

6. Steffi Martin

  • First woman to win two Olympic gold medals for luge
  • Won every major luge competition from 1982 to 1988
  • Two-time World Luge Championship gold medalist

Steffi Martin made history as the greatest female luge athlete of the 1980s. She began training in luge at the age of 13 and made her international debut a decade later when she won the World Luging Championship in 1983. The following year, she competed at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and won the gold medal in women’s singles. She won another World Championship and the World Luge Cup before entering the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Winning her second Olympic gold, she became the first woman to win two gold medals for women’s luge. Though she retired due to health problems, Martin is remembered as one of the greatest athletes in the history of women’s luge.

FAQ

Who is the greatest women’s luger of all time?

The greatest women’s luger of all time is Natalie Geisenberger. After winning the women’s singles and team relay competition at the Pyeongchang and Sochi Winter Olympics, no female luger has won more Olympic gold medals. With the addition of her record-breaking number of FIL World Luge Championships and World Luge Cup wins, she is not only the most decorated women’s luge athlete but has tied Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl for the most successful luge record of all time.

What women’s luger has won the most FIL World Luge Championship gold medals?

Natalie Geisenberger has won the most FIL World Luge Championship gold medals of all women’s luge athletes. In the 2012-2013 season, she entered and won her first championship. In 2018, she won her sixth gold medal and set the record for most FIL World Luge Championships. She continued to win in the following two seasons, setting the current record at eight total wins. 

Who is the oldest Olympic gold medalist in women’s luge?

Sylke Otto is the oldest female luge athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, accomplishing the feat at 36 years old. At the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, she narrowly defeated fellow Germans Silke Kraushaar and Tatjana Hüfner with a total run time of 3:07.979. It marked her second and final Olympic gold medal in women’s singles.