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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 01:49 GMT

Otto leads German clean sweep

Silke Kraushaar saw her dreams of winning a second consecutive women's individual luge gold crushed but still finished among the medals as Germany collected a stunning 1-2-3.

Kraushaar moved into the cumulative lead on her fourth and final run but moments later saw both Barabara Niedernhuber and Silke Otto go faster as she was pushed into bronze position.

Otto took gold with a winning aggregate time of 2 minutes 52.464 seconds - 0.321 ahead of Niedernhuber.

Leading after Tuesday's opening two runs, double world champion Otto extended her lead in the third with a blistering run of 42.94 seconds - the fastest of the competition.

The 32-year-old then comfortably protected her lead in her final run down the 1.14 km course.

It was her first Olympic medal, having made her debut at Albertville a decade ago.

Niedernhuber raced to silver for the second Games in a row following her runners-up position in Nagano in 1998.

That meant defending champion Kraushaar, who had clocked the best time on the first run, had to settle for bronze.

Venezuela's 40-year-old Iginia Boccalandro, one of the weaker lugers, had a spectacular crash in the opening run, hitting the side of the track and losing her grip on the sled.

After sliding down the track on her stomach, she took a few minutes to recover before she was able to get up and walk away.

She did not take part in the second run.

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