WHISTLER -- Whatever the country, wherever the track, it's usually the same story when the world's best female lugers meet to compete.
It's Germany against the world. And the world usually gets its butt kicked.
Tuesday afternoon at the Whistler Sliding Centre it happened again as Germany's Tatjana Huefner took the gold medal with a four-run time of two minutes, 46.524 seconds.
Teammate Natalie Geisenberger got the bronze in 2:47.014 as Austria's Nina Reithmayer ruined the German women's bid for a third straight Olympic podium sweep, taking the silver medal in 2:47.014.
"Of course I'm extremely happy to have won the gold," said Hoefner, who trailed Reithmayer and Geisenberger after the first run but had managed to take the lead after Monday's second run.
"This is what I worked for for all these years. I was nervous before all four runs but this is what my dream was."
Reithmayer was happy to slide her way onto the podium and wreck Germany's bid to become the first country in any sport to sweep three consecutive Olympic podiums.
"This is something very special that I was able to place between the two Germans because they are all good athletes, very strong. That's why I'm happy. I had good preparation. My nerves held up well. I felt good and I was calm."
Sylke Otto won in 2002 and 2006. Silke Kraushaar, who won in 1998, got silver in 2006 and bronze in 2002. Barbara Niedernhuber got the silvers in 2002 and 2006.Huefner was a bronze medalist in 2006.
The last non-German to medal was Austria's Angelika Neuner, who got bronze in 1998.
And now this group is on another win streak.
Last February American Erin Hamlin -- who finished 16th Tuesday in 2:49.108 -- won the 2009 world championship at Lake Placid, N.Y. The win ended a 12-year, 99-race win streak that included World Cups, world championships and the Olympics.
Since the loss, German women have established a new streak. They won the last two World Cups of the 2008-09 season and the first eight this season.
There are reasons why Germany dominates this sport.
The country has 35 professional coaches and four world class tracks. On each of those tracks school kids do luge the way Canadians do basketball or soccer.
Germany's elite athletes work either in the army, the police or the border patrol. They earn full salaries but only spend three months of each year at those jobs. For nine months they train and compete.
There are two national sport institutes, one that develops better equipment and another that helps athletes improve through sport science.
From about age eight, Germany has about 100 boys and girls participating in the sport.
And they succeed on any kind of track.
Regular tracks or the short track luge they were left with here in the wake of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's death Friday. VANOC and International Luge Federation moved the start down to the gate used for junior (under-19) competitions. The women and doubles course had been 1,198 metres long but now it's just 953. Last season the Canadian youth (under-15) championships were held on the short course the Olympians were using last night.
But it hardly seems to matter. Freeze the stairways up the CN Tower, send them down and they'd probably win that too.