BMW Golf Cup International: Double Olympic luge champion swaps toboggan for driver. – Natalie Geisenberger impresses away from the ice track with a powerful swing.
Phuket. Double Olympic luge champion Natalie Geisenberger enters unfamiliar territory: the enthusiastic amateur golfer is a special guest at the World Final of the BMW Golf Cup International on the island paradise of Phuket, Thailand, where she has swapped the more familiar surroundings of the ice track for green fairways, and her toboggan for a set of irons. The international competitors from 50 different countries marched into the opening ceremony behind their national flags to receive their official welcome. The Olympian from Miesbach thoroughly enjoyed the “Festival of Nations”.
“I am delighted to have received this exclusive invitation to the World Final from BMW,” said Geisenberger. “At the end of what has been a very successful but exhausting season, it is good to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the fantastic programme. This event once again shows how sport unites people across borders and cultures. The number of countries competing and the spirit of fair play give the event something of an Olympic feel. It is very special to be here.”
The World Finalists and guests were also delighted to meet the double Olympic gold medallist, and posed proudly for photos with the queen of the luge. Geisenberger, for her part, was happy to chat and describe her experiences at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
The 26-year-old’s outstanding athleticism was plain for all to see on the Lakes Course at the Blue Canyon Country Club, as Geisenberger unleashed some big drives. “It was great fun to get a few swings under my belt again,” said Geisenberger.
“BMW is not only a strong partner of the German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation and the International Luge Federation, but also an important partner of golf around the world. I can appreciate just how important that is for a sport, and am pleased that golf will be part of the Olympics in 2016. There is simply nothing bigger than the Olympic Games.”
Geisenberger is not the only special guest in Phuket. Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo will also visit the World Final. In an exclusive golf clinic, Faldo will demonstrate the skill and mental attitude that made him one of the best European golfers of all time, and will pass on some of his vast wealth of experience. “I can hardly wait to pick up a few tips for my own game from a golfing legend like Nick Faldo,” said Geisenberger. “Although I love playing golf and practice enthusiastically, I am still more at home on the ice track.”
Every World Final of the BMW Golf Cup International is far more than simply a golf tournament. The three rounds of golf themselves are out of the ordinary, as the amateurs are treated like professionals in every way. Furthermore, each competitor is accompanied by a companion, who can look forward to a magnificent side programme. Thai event cooking, discovering the Chalong Highlands on Elephants, a sailing trip through Phang-Na Bay to the famous “James Bond Island”, a boat expedition through mangrove forests and caves, as well as the opportunity to swim and snorkel off the Phi Phi Islands – known for their appearance in the film “The Beach” – are just a few of the highlights that Natalie Geisenberger will also be able to enjoy.
Geisenberger and her fellow lugers Felix Loch, Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt from the German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation (BSD), which BMW supports as Technology Partner, were responsible for half of the eight gold medals won by the German team at this year’s Winter Olympics.