Hermann rallies for 3rd straight women's skeleton title

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Second place, Germany's Jacqueline Loelling, left, hands the trophy to first place, Germany's Tina Hermann on the podium during the women's skeleton race at the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, Friday, Feb.12, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

ALTENBERG – A year ago, Tina Hermann became the first woman to win back-to-back world skeleton championships.

She’s done one better now.

Hermann has now won three consecutive world titles, rallying in the final heat Friday to beat fellow German slider Jacqueline Loelling for this year’s crown. Hermann finished four runs over two days in 3 minutes, 52.97 seconds — 0.11 seconds ahead of Loelling, who was the leader going into the final run.

Russian sliders Elena Nikitina and Alina Tararychenkova were third and fourth respectively; Tararychenkova was tied for fourth by Germany’s Sophia Griebel. Katie Uhlaender of the U.S. was sixth in her final world championships.

“I really wanted a top four,” Uhlaender said. “It was the little things. I was a little loose today, but I gave it my all.”

Kendall Wesenberg was 19th for the U.S. and Sara Roderick was 24th in her first trip to the world championships.

Hermann is now the first woman to win four world titles, the last two in comeback fashion. She was 0.56 seconds off the lead after the first run last year before rallying; she was 0.64 seconds off the lead after this year’s opening run on Thursday. And then she was dominant the rest of the way, throwing down the fastest heat in all three remaining trips down the Altenberg track.

The men’s world championships saw a comeback as well, though nowhere near as big of one time-wise as Hermann’s rally. Germany’s Christopher Grotheer, who was third by 0.06 seconds at the race’s midway point, rallied to win the title in 3:46.31.