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Feature: Germany's skeleton queen scared of high speed cars

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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — Even in an Olympic athlete’s life, there seem moments when only mum can help.

Early in the morning, ahead of runs three and four, Germany’s skeleton talent Hannah Neise wrote a message to her mother back in Germany.

“I woke up at six and felt extremely nervous. I am not used to feelings like that. She calmed me down and told me to simply do what I can,” the surprise winner of the women’s singles reported.

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Over the past months, the 21-year-old has been working on her mental state, but never experienced an event like the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Mum’s advice did not miss the mark. The winner of the 2020 Youth World Championships slipped back to full concentration and outpaced her competitors.

After her mother’s call, she remembered, “a solid mental state became one of my advantages, as I have been working a lot on it.”

After taking a surprise gold, more unusual things concerning Neise came to light. “It might sound weird, but in normal life, I have problems with high speed,” she said speaking about any one of her family driving fast in a car.

“I don’t know why, but when I am going down the skeleton tracks, I don’t feel that,” she said, adding that she can think of many much more dangerous sports.

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Her fans might be racking their brains, considering skeleton athletes race down an icy slope head-first on a small sled at over 130 kilometers per hour.

Waiting at the Yanqing Olympic track, the young German somehow appeared lost “as I was not used to a situation like that.”

She might have remembered in these moments; she had done all she could. She wore compressing stockings and a pink T-shirt under her racing suit as she has always done when in competition from her early years on.

The cuddly toy her boyfriend had given her before she took off for the Beijing Games was also in attendance.

“I can’t realize what happened,” she said, assuming her family back home might currently be much more enthusiastic than her.

She might have thought about her long way to Beijing after enduring a COVID-19 infection at the end of January. Her participation at the Winter Olympics seemed in danger, as regular training wasn’t possible.

The break didn’t harm her determination to perform at her best, as Neise completed Germany’s stunning performance in Yanqing.

In all six competitions, German athletes finished first, with fans already talking about the “German home track”. And there are more to come in the bobsleigh events.

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While being overwhelmed by her unexpected success, Neise said she hopes her gold medal might attract more youngsters to take up skeleton.

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