Preview for BMW IBSF World Cup in Altenberg
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Altenberg to host opening race of the Olympic year 2018
Battle for the overall win still open in all five disciplines
Altenberg (RWH): Bobsleigh and skeleton athletes will start the Olympic year 2018 with a trip to the luge, skeleton and bobsleigh track in Altenberg for the BMW IBSF World Cup. The challenging track is located in the Ore Mountains in the German state of Saxony, around 40 kilometres south of Dresden and not far from the Czech border. It will host the sixth stop in the World Cup tour, with only three races left before the start of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang (KOR) in February.
Unlike in other seasons, the race for overall victory in the BMW IBSF World Cup is still exceptionally tense, even ahead of the sixth of eight races this Olympic season. The field in the women’s bobsleigh is particularly tight with a mere 14 points separating Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada (1044) from World Champion Elana Meyers Taylor (USA, 1030) prior to the World Cup race in Altenberg. ©RWH2017
Bobsleigh and skeleton draw in the crowds in Korea
PyeongChang (RWH): The Olympic bobsleigh and skeleton races are already garnering a great deal of attention amongst spectators in Korea. Organisers in PyeongChang have reported that as many as 70 % of tickets have already been sold for the bobsleigh races, while skeleton ticket sales were at 69 % as of 21 December 2017. Sales for IBSF disciplines are therefore well above average. So far, a total of 61 % of Olympic tickets have been sold.
Some of the host country’s top athletes include Sungbin Yun, who is currently leading the standings in the men’s skeleton World Cup, and bobsleigh pilot Yunjong Won, who won the overall title in the 2-man bobsleigh World Cup in 2016. ©RWH2017
Five 2-man bobsleigh races with five different winners
Altenberg (RWH): The five 2-man bobsleigh races in the 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup have seen five different athletes from four different countries top the podium. In the opening two races of the season in Lake Placid (USA), first place went to Nico Walther/Christian Poser (GER) and Codie Bascue/Sam McGuffie (USA). In Whistler (CAN), Chris Spring/Neville Wright celebrated a home victory for Canada before the Swiss pairing of Clemens Bracher/Michael Kuonen caused shock waves by finishing first in Winterberg (GER) in their first ever World Cup race in the 2-man bobsleigh. And finally, World Champion Francesco Friedrich/Thorsten Margis (GER) secured their first win of the season at the race in Innsbruck (AUT). ©RWH2017
24 countries registered to compete at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Altenberg
Altenberg (RWH): Athletes from 24 different countries are registered to compete at the first World Cup event of the new year. The skeleton races will therefore feature 51 athletes (24 women and 27 men) while the bobsleigh races will include 71 teams (23 in the women’s bobsleigh, 24 in the 2-man event and 23 in the 4-man). Official training for the World Cup races in Altenberg will run until 4 January. ©RWH2017
Renovations to Altenberg bobsleigh track planned for 2020 World Championships
Altenberg (RWH): Altenberg is the newest of Germany’s four ice tracks. The “DKB Ice Track”, as it was recently renamed thanks to a sponsorship deal with a German bank, celebrated its 30th anniversary not all that long ago.
In November 1987, when the track still belonged to the GDR, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh teams from 17 nations competed in the AERO Cup for the first time – in front of a record crowd of 20,000 spectators. The 1,413-metre-long track winds its way around 17 curves in Saxony’s Ore Mountains and has played host to several IBSF World and European Championships. Most recently, it hosted the World Championships in 2008 and the 2012 European Championships.
Looking ahead to the next major event, Altenberg is preparing for the 2020 IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships by planning some major renovation work, particularly at the bottom of the track. Initial plans have already been presented to the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation for approval. The sections of the track affected by the changes are scheduled to be dismantled as early as the end of the 2018/2019 season. ©RWH2017
Last year’s winners at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Altenberg
World Cup race in Altenberg marks penultimate chance to qualify for PyeongChang
Altenberg (RWH): The sixth race of this World Cup season will also see athletes battling it out to gain points for Olympic qualification for the penultimate time. Skeleton athletes and bobsleigh teams have until 14 January 2018 to secure strong results to count towards qualification for PyeongChang. In addition to the BMW IBSF World Cup races in Altenberg (GER, 5 to 7 January) and St. Moritz (SUI, 12 to 14 January), athletes are also able to compete in four Intercontinental Cup races for skeleton in St. Moritz and Altenberg, European Cup races for bobsleigh in Innsbruck (AUT) and Winterberg (GER), a European Cup race for skeleton in Altenberg, and North American Cup races for both bobsleigh and skeleton in Lake Placid (USA) over the next 12 days.
Each athlete’s or bobsleigh pilot’s top seven results from these racing series – in line with the number of World Cup races prior to 14 January – will then count towards the calculations for the spaces allotted in each of the disciplines.
At least one starting place in each discipline is awarded to all five Olympic continents (Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania) and the host country Korea, provided that athletes meet the basic qualification requirements.
To qualify for a place, athletes must be in the top 50 (2-man and 4-man bobsleigh), top 40 (women’s bobsleigh), top 60 (men’s skeleton) or top 45 (women’s skeleton) of the IBSF rankings for their discipline. Furthermore, bobsleigh pilots and skeleton athletes must have competed in five races on three different tracks between October 2016 and 14 January 2018, including three races on two different tracks in the 2017/2018 season.
The IBSF informs the national Olympic committees of the quotas calculated according to these requirements. The national committees then decide which of their athletes will fill their allotted spaces.
A total of 220 athletes from the five IBSF disciplines will have the honour of competing for the Olympic title, including 170 bobsleigh athletes (130 men and 40 women) and 50 skeleton athletes (30 men and 20 women).
The XXIII Winter Olympic Games will open on 9 February 2018. IBSF athletes’ races are scheduled for 15 to 17 February (skeleton), 18 to 21 February (2-man and women’s bobsleigh) and the closing weekend to the Games on 24 and 25 February (4-man bobsleigh). The races will be held at the new Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang. ©RWH2017
Qualification requirements for bobsleigh
Qualification requirements for skeleton
The World Cup schedule for Altenberg
On the sidelines
Anna Köhler (GER) met the national Olympic standard for PyeongChang by finishing in fifth place at the BMW IBSF World Cup race in Innsbruck (AUT). Specifications for the German team require athletes to achieve two top-three finishes or three finishes in eighth place or higher in the World Cup. After securing two eighth-place finishes in Park City (USA) and Winterberg (GER), Anna Köhler took her final step towards meeting Germany’s criteria by finishing fifth in Innsbruck. The German bobsleigh pilot therefore had extra reason to celebrate after the race, which also saw her win a bronze medal in the European Championships. However, Anna Köhler’s ticket to the Olympics is not certain just yet: There are still two World Cup races in Altenberg and St. Moritz (SUI) to go before Olympic qualification is determined. The results will decide whether Germany will be one of the two countries permitted to send three women’s bobsleigh teams to PyeongChang. According to a release in the newspaper Westfalenpost, the 24-years-old in Altenberg will compete for the first time with Annika Drazek – 2016 World Champion and one of the fastest push athletes in women’s bobsleigh. ©RWH2017
Anne O’Shea and Nathan Crumpton (USA) will make their season début in the IBSF’s elite racing series at the BMW IBSF World Cup race in Altenberg. According to information published by USA Bobsled & Skeleton, both skeleton athletes will be battling it out in the World Cup races on Friday (5 January) for the first time this winter. Anne O’Shea, who finished fifth in the 2016 World Championships and overall fourth in the 2016 BMW IBSF World Cup, began the Olympic winter by competing in the IBSF Intercontinental Cup, in which she currently holds fourth place. Nathan Crumpton sustained a back injury shortly before the US selection races, meaning that he missed out on a place in the World Cup team. Their team mates Kendall Wesenberg and John Daly, who are currently in 14th and 16th in the overall World Cup rankings, will compete in the IBSF Intercontinental Cup races in St. Moritz before re-joining the USA’s World Cup team when the BMW IBSF World Cup tour also travels to the Swiss track a week later. ©RWH2017
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