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German team boasts 13 podium places before third home World Cup
Königssee (RWH) The BMW IBSF World Cup Bob + Skeleton 2015/2016 goes into the third round in Königssee, Germany,and the athletes belonging to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation can look forward to an excellent atmosphere here, as the races on the World’s oldest artificial ice track are always well attended.Around 40,000 fans attended the races at the World Championships here in 2011, for example.
The German bobsleigh and skeleton athletes will start the third World Cup on home ground with thirteen podium places collected during the first two race weekends of the season.
The team from Germany fought a gripping duel with the teams from Latvia and Russia in both Altenberg and Winterberg,with World Champion Francesco Friedrich of Germany coming only slightly ahead of defending titleholder Oskars Melbardis of Latvia in the first two two-man bobsleigh races.Skeleton slider Martins Dukurs of Latvia, who won the 2015 World Championships and headed the last six overall World Cup rankings, faces strong competition from Olympic Champion Alexander Tretyakov of Russia, who came second and third the last two weekends, and Axel Jungk of Germany.While Dukurs could well celebrate his fortieth World Cup victory in Königssee, Jungk, who came third in the World Cup standings last winter, made a long awaited first podium appearance in Winterberg last weekend.
Skeleton slider Tina Hermann (GER), who came fifth in the 2015 World Championships, had also been waiting impatiently for her first World Cup victory.It was hers at last in Winterberg, and she comes to her home track in Königssee as the leader of the overall rankings after the victory in Winterberg and a second in Altenberg.The athletes from the USA and Canada have so far dominated the scene in the women’s bobsleigh.Jamie Greubel Poser took victory in Winterberg and third in Altenberg for the USA, while World Champion and defending World Cup titleholder Elana Meyers Taylor came second in Winterberg.Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada won the season opener in Altenberg, and followed this up with a third in Winterberg.But before the World Cup train sets off for the three overseas races at the beginning of 2016, the German female bobsledders hope to make it onto the podium at last in Königssee.
Francesco Friedrich has also set the pace in the four-man bobsleigh so far this season, leaving the competition well behind him with two victories in two races.The key to his success in both events was the second run:the Friedrich crew sped from a third place to first in the final run in both Altenberg and Winterberg.Their strongest competitors each time were the other German teams,and Nico Walther and Maximilian Arndt joined Francesco Friedrich on the podium for both races.Oskars Melbardis of Latvia, who took silver at the 2014 Olympics and bronze at the 2015 World Championships, has not won a World Cup race in Königssee yet.A third placing last season was his best result to date.
Königssee has a special place in the history of the IBSF, as it is here that the world’s first ever artificial ice track was built.The intricate ice labyrinth was opened in 1968 and has hosted international competitions in the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton every year since then.The ice track entered a new era five years ago, when the lower third of the course was redesigned. It was fittingly christened with the 2011 World Championships.And the IBSF athletes will be visiting Königssee a second time this winter,as the final World Cup will be held here in February 2016.©RWH2015-2016
Keep up to date with bobsleigh and skeleton news on Facebook, Twitter & co.
Königssee (RWH) As in the past, the latest news, detailed start lists, race results and a wealth of information about the BMW IBSF Bob + Skeleton World Cup will be available this season via a variety of social media channels.The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF has its own site on Facebook, and all news is posted straight to the profile pages of the over 2,000 members of the IBSF Facebook group and also sent to Twitter followers (@IBSFsliding), of which there are over 2,500.
A live ticker for all World Cup races, as well as results lists showing all race times and overall times and the latest World Cup standings can also be found at ibsf.org.Many countries throughout the world are showing TV coverage of the BMW IBSF World Cup races,and in addition, ibsf.org and the IBSF YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/bobskeletv are showing all races live with commentary by Martin Haven and John Morgan.The live stream is available in almost every country in the world©RWH2015-2016
The World Cup winners in Königssee in January 2015
On the sidelines
Kevin Kuske (GER) is back on the ice track.The four-times Olympic Champion (2002 and 2006 in the four-man, 2006 and 2010 in the two-man) and seven-times World Champion (2003, 2007 and 2008 in the four-man, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008 in the four-man) has re-joined the German bobsleigh team for the BMW IBSF World Cup after a season-long break to recover from injury.At the opener in Altenberg, the 36-year-old brakeman came third in the four-seater piloted by Maximilian Arndt, and the duo Arndt/Kuske only just missed the podium with a fourth in the two-seater.In Winterberg, he was placed thirteenth in the two-man event and made another podium appearance in the four-man event with second.©RWH2015-2016
Jeff Pain (CAN) and Manuel Machata (GER) are coaching China’s new skeleton and bobsleigh national team.In September, former Canadian skeleton slider Jeff Pain, who collected Olympic silver in 2006 and won two World Championships (2003 and 2005), was in charge of the national selection for the new ice track athletes in Yan Qing/Beijing, the planned site of the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge track for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.After performance and push-start tests, five women and five men were selected for the Chinese national skeleton team from 121 competitors and 21 sports, including athletics, wrestling, basketball, speed skating and skiing.Manuel Machata, who in 2011 won the World and European championships and came overall first in the World Cup, is the head bobsleigh coach in China.The 31-year-old has spent the last weeks looking for athletes from other disciplines for his sport, together with the Chinese Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association.“We’re building the team from scratch”, said Machata.“At the end of the winter, we plan to have the first runs on ice on one of the North American tracks.I hope to be able to start racing with the new Chinese athletes for the first time next season.” ©RWH2015-2016
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