Natalie Geisenberger celebrates a successful title defence ©Getty Images

Germany's Natalie Geisenberger avoided the heartbreak suffered by her compatriot Felix Loch and held her nerve to successfully defend her women's Olympic luge singles title at Pyeongchang 2018.

Loch had fallen from first to fifth in the final round of the corresponding men's final and Geisenberger had enjoyed a similar successful first three runs today.

Unlike Loch, though, produced an strong fourth round for a combined time of 3min 05.232sec at the Pyeongchang Sliding Centre.

It marked the sixth consecutive German victory in the event, a run dating back to Lillehammer 1994, when Gerda Weissensteiner of Italy took gold.

"The secret was to have four clean runs," the 30-year-old Geisenberger, who also won an Olympic gold medal in the team event at Sochi 2014, said.

"The first time here everybody said that if you have four clean runs you will fight for the medals. 

"That was the secret. 

"I had four very strong starts, and I'm just happy that I'm Olympic champion all [over] again."

The three podium finishers celebrate after being awarded their medals ©Getty Images
The three podium finishers celebrate after being awarded their medals ©Getty Images

Geisenberger's team-mate Dajana Eitberger was second in 3:05.599 and Canada's Alex Gough third in 3:05.644.

Germany had to be content with a 1-2-4 finish as Tatjana Huefner failed to win a fourth Olympic singles medal.

The Vancouver 2010 champion finished fourth in 3:05.712.

American Opening Ceremony flagbearer Erin Hamlin, a bronze medallist at Sochi 2014, finished sixth. 

Luge competition is due to continue tomorrow with doubles action.