The overall World Cup standings are exceptionally tense in all five disciplines
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Innsbruck (RWH): This weekend (3 to 5 February 2017) will see athletes from the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) come together to collect decisive points for the overall World Cup standings for the seventh and penultimate time this season. The BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck (AUT) will also be the final race ahead of the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships in Königssee (13 to 26 February 2017). In mid-March, athletes will then head to the new ice track in PyeongChang, the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, for the World Cup final and Olympic test runs.
In the women’s skeleton event, Janine Flock (AUT) is currently second place in the overall World Cup standings ahead of her home World Cup event in Austria. She is currently behind European Champion Jacqueline Lölling and ahead of World Champion Tina Hermann (both GER). So far in the 2016/2017 season, Janine Flock has secured one win – at the second World Cup event of the season in Lake Placid (USA) in December 2016 – as well as two bronze medals in Altenberg (GER) and St. Moritz (SUI). At the last race in Königssee (GER), the runner-up in the 2016 World Championships finished in seventh place.
In the two-woman bobsleigh, Christina Hengster (AUT) will head to her home World Cup event in Innsbruck in third place overall. However, her lead over Elana Meyers Taylor is now only eleven points following the US athlete’s run of three successive victories. Christina Hengster achieved her first podium finish in a World Cup event in Innsbruck-Igls Olympic in December 2011, when she shared the title with Elana Meyers Taylor.
This has also been one of the most exciting BMW IBSF World Cups of recent years in the men’s skeleton event. Just a single point separates current leader Sungbin Yun of Korea from World Champion and defending World Cup title holder Martins Dukurs of Latvia. Four athletes from four countries – Sungbin Yun (KOR), Martins Dukurs (LAT), Christopher Grotheer (GER) and Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) – have already topped the podium at the six World Cup races that have taken place in this pre-Olympic season. In total, nine different athletes from five countries (GER, LAT, KOR, RUS, USA) have finished in the top three.
In the men’s bobsleigh events, Benjamin Maier (AUT) will be heading to his home World Cup event on the Olympic ice track in Innsbruck holding eighth place overall in the two-man event and sixth place in the four-man standings. After finishing in the top ten eight times so far in the 2016/2017 winter season, Benjamin Maier’s only podium finish (third place in the four-man race in Winterberg) also saw him take home the bronze medal in the European Championships. With two races left to go this season in the BMW IBSF World Cup, Francesco Friedrich (GER) is at the top of the table in the two-man event while Alexander Kasjanov (RUS) is leading the four-man event. Johannes Lochner (GER) has been in particularly good form of late. The 2016 Junior World Champion in the two-man and four-man bobsleigh has already won five races in his first season in the BMW IBSF World Cup. However, when it comes to the overall standings, he is trailing slightly in sixth place in the two-man event and second place in the four-man event after missing out on the World Cup in Lake Placid.
The first two-man bobsleigh World Championships were staged in Innsbruck back in 1935, not on an artificial ice track but on existing, specially prepared roads which ended at the Patscherkofel valley railway station. Two separate artificial ice tracks were built ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 – one for the bobsleigh competitions and one for the lugers who were competing in the event for the first time. The separate tracks were decommissioned prior to the Winter Games in 1976 and replaced with the world’s first combined bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track equipped with the starting options required for each discipline. For the first time ever, all Olympic ice track competitions were held on the same track. The Olympics returned to Innsbruck in 2012, when the track hosted the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Innsbruck ice chute is one of the shortest of the 15 tracks currently in use around the world. To set a good time, athletes need an explosive and fast start. Once they have passed this point, athletes generally deem the track to be relatively easy. However, all the experts agree on one thing: maintaining a quick slide and finding the perfect line on the Olympic ice track in Innsbruck is definitely an art. ©RWH2017
Photos: Charlie Booker
IBSF media guides, starting lists, reports and results in the new press area at ibsf.org
Innsbruck (RWH): Journalists can now look forward to a fresh new look and more extensive information on the press pages at ibsf.org (available under the “Press” menu or directly at http://www.ibsf.org/en/media-contacts). For the 2016/2017 BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup, the menu will contain starting lists for the first runs of all events and the latest media guides:
Media guide - Event information for the entire BMW IBSF World Cup season: This guide outlines key information concerning bobsleigh and skeleton, the IBSF International Rules, the new IBSF draw system and all of the tracks.
Media guides - Athletes for both bobsleigh and skeleton for each round of the World Cup: This guide contains a profile of all bobsleigh pilots and skeleton athletes due to start at the BMW IBSF World Cup, including their results, the latest World Cup standings, and an interesting insight into their backgrounds. The Athletes media guides are updated prior to each World Cup event.
The press area also contains information on media accreditation, links to the latest press releases, results and information on the IBSF’s social media platforms. ©RWH2017
Keep up to date with IBSF news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
Innsbruck (RWH): As usual, all the latest news, start lists, race results, lots of photos and videos, and a wealth of information about the BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup will be available on various social media platforms:
The official hashtag for the World Cup is #BMWworldcup.
A live ticker for all World Cup races, results lists showing all race times and overall times and the latest World Cup standings can be found on the IBSF website http://www.ibsf.org/en.
Over 40 countries around the world are showing TV coverage of the BMW IBSF World Cup races. You can find a list of our current TV partners at: http://www.ibsf.org/en/broadcasters.
What’s more, NBC (in the USA), CBC (in Canada), www.ibsf.org and the IBSF YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/bobskeletv (available in almost all other countries) also broadcast all races as live streams, with commentary provided by Martin Haven and John Morgan on the IBSF channels. ©RWH2017
On the sidelines
Yulia Kanakina (RUS), Nikita Tregybov (RUS), Mica McNeill (GBR), Richard Oelsner (GER) and Bennet Buchmüller (GER) are the 2017 Junior World Champions. The two Russian skeleton athletes Yulia Kanakina and Nikita Tregybov won gold at the Junior World Championships in Sigulda (LAT). Nikita Tregybov, who is currently ninth in the overall standings for the BMW IBSF World Cup, celebrated his third successive win. Yulia Kanakina won her first ever Junior title in Sigulda (LAT). In the two-woman bobsleigh, the gold medal in the Junior World Championships in Winterberg (GER) was awarded to the British pairing of Mica McNeill/Mica Moore, the second Junior title for female British bobsleigh athletes after Paula Walker/Rebekkah Wilson won the Junior World Championships in 2011. In the men’s bobsleigh events, both Junior titles went to German athletes: Richard Oelsner won in the two-man bobsleigh, while Bennet Buchmüller won Junior gold in the four-man event. All Junior World Champions will automatically qualify for the BMW IBSF 2017 World Championships in Königssee (13 to 26 February 2017). ©RWH2017
John Farrow (AUS) has won the overall standings in the 2016/2017 IBSF North American Cup. It was the 34-year-old’s first overall victory in an IBSF racing series after nine years of competing in skeleton events. “I didn't get a race win all year but didn't make any huge mistakes or blowout any races,” said the Australian after achieving eight top-six finishes, including two silver medals, in a report on olympics.com.au. For a long time, John Farrow started with a special foot brace after suffering a knee injury and nerve damage during a warm-up training session in 2011. Now, he is working towards the World Cup final and the Olympic trial in PyeongChang (KOR) in mid-March. “I want to learn as much about the ice and corner profiles as I can,” said John Farrow, speaking about the Alpensia Sliding Center, where the new Olympic Champion will be named this time next year (9-25 February 2018). ©RWH2017
The World Cup winners and medal winners in Innsbruck in February 2015
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