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PyeongChang (RWH): The eighth and final BMW IBSF World Cup race of the 2016/2017 season (17 to 19 March 2017) will mark the end of the last winter before the Olympics for IBSF athletes. At the same time, it will be the first chance for bobsleigh and skeleton athletes to battle it out on the new track, making the IBSF race a dress rehearsal for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The Alpensia Sliding Centre is Asia’s second artificial ice track after Nagano (JPN). The Olympic track for the 2022 Winter Games in the Chinese capital of Beijing is currently in the planning stages.
The ice track for 2018 is located in the PyeongChang Mountain cluster, just a stone’s throw from the main press centre and in direct proximity to many other Olympic venues for Alpine and Nordic skiing events. The track measures a total length of 1,376 metres and drops a total of 117 metres from start to finish.
During the international training period in the run-up to the World Cup race, curve two – a long, relatively flat left-hand curve angled up at the back – has proved to be especially challenging for athletes. “It is a really interesting track, it’s fun – but curve two is tough. We hit the wall today,” summed up Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada in a Twitter video after her first day of training. The French bobsleigh pilot Loic Costerg described the Alpensia Sliding Centre as “not too quick but technically very challenging” in a Facebook post. Skeleton World Champion Jacqueline Lölling (GER) added “One run is never the same as the next but it’s fun!” after her first few days of training.
Official training for the BMW IBSF World Cup in PyeongChang will run from 14 to 16 March. ©RWH2017
All current World Champions on the starting line at the World Cup Finale in PyeongChang
PyeongChang (RWH): All of the newly crowned World Champions from the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships in Königssee at the end of February will be on the starting line at the World Cup Finale and Olympic rehearsals in PyeongChang. Jacqueline Lölling (GER, women’s skeleton), Martins Dukurs (LAT, men’s skeleton), Elana Meyers Taylor (USA, women’s bobsleigh), Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh) and Johannes Lochner (GER), who shares a title with Friedrich following a historic victory in the 4-man bobsleigh, made the most of the international training period to take their first runs down the Olympic ice track. ©RWH2017
International training session in PyeongChang with athletes from 30 countries
PyeongChang (RWH): The athletes belonging to the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) attended the Alpensia Sliding Centre, the venue for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, to take part in the first international training period. Bobsleigh and skeleton athletes from 30 countries travelled to the future Olympic ice track for ten days of intensive training from 2 to 12 March.
Participants from all disciplines had the chance to complete two to three training runs per day. On their two free days, the athletes and teams explored PyeongChang and the surrounding area – from the sea in Gangneung, just a half an hour from the Olympic venue in the mountains, to the nearby towns and cities and local cultural attractions.
Prior to the opening of the 2017/2018 Olympic season, IBSF athletes will be able to attend another international training period (ITP) in PyeongChang between 23 and 29 October 2017.
Further information on the new Olympic ice track is available at www.ibsf.org/en/tracks/track/2028/Pyeongchang or on the website for PyeongChang 2018 (www.pyeongchang2018.com/horizon/eng/index.asp). ©RWH2017
Athletes at the BMW IBSF World Cup to set first track record on the Olympic ice track
PyeongChang (RWH): Be it in the women’s skeleton, men’s skeleton, women’s bobsleigh, 2-man bobsleigh or 4-man bobsleigh, whoever sets the best run time for both heats will be guaranteed the first track record for the Olympic ice track of the 2018 Winter Games: The World Cup Finale between 17 and 19 March is the first official IBSF contest on the new Olympic track for the bobsleigh and skeleton athletes. The best time for each discipline at the World Cup Finale automatically means the first official track record on the Olympic track. ©RWH2017
Women’s skeleton: World Champion Jacqueline Lölling holds a slender lead in the overall World Cup
PyeongChang (RWH): At the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships in Königssee just over two weeks ago, just 0.25 seconds separated two team mates, with 25 points separating the same pair ahead of the BMW IBSF World Cup in PyeongChang: Skeleton athlete Jacqueline Lölling (GER) secured the World Championship title in Königssee with Tina Hermann winning silver. Ahead of the World Cup Finale and Olympic rehearsals on the new track for the 2018 Winter Games, the overall leader Jacqueline Lölling is on track to take her third title of the season after winning gold at the European and World Championships – this would also be her first overall win in the World Cup. However, the 2012 Youth Olympic Champion can’t leave too short a gap at the season finale in PyeongChang: if Tina Hermann wins, Jacqueline Lölling will have to finish third to draw equal in the points. Janine Flock of Austria, currently third place overall, and Canadian Mirela Rahneva in fourth, also stand a good chance of taking one of the coveted Crystal Globe trophies for the top three athletes in the pre-Olympic World Cup winter. ©RWH2017
Men’s skeleton: Martins Dukurs and Sungbin Yun battle it out for the overall World Cup title
PyeongChang (RWH): The excitement in the women’s event ahead of the World Cup Finale in PyeongChang is matched by the situation in the men’s skeleton. In this event, 24 points separate this year’s rivals Martins Dukurs of Latvia and Sungbin Yun of Olympic hosts Korea. From the very start of the season, defending World Cup title holder Dukurs and the 2016 World Championship bronze medallist Yun have been in an ongoing race to the top, with the number one spot in the overall standings going back and forth between the two athletes. Prior to the BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck in February after the six of eight races, the two athletes were separated by just a single point. The finale in PyeongChang will decide whether Martins Dukurs secures his eighth consecutive win or whether Sungbin Yun wins the first ever overall victory for Korea. Behind them, there is also a three-way battle for the third Crystal Globe trophy: Runner-up in the World Championships Axel Jungk (GER), Olympic Champion Alexander Tretiakov and Christopher Grotheer of Germany trail by around 150 points, leaving them with no chance of taking the overall win though they could all still finish third. ©RWH2017
Women’s bobsleigh: Canada and the USA go head-to-head for the overall win in BMW IBSF World Cup
PyeongChang (RWH): The last seven races of the season have seen Canada and the USA in a head-to-head battle in the BMW IBSF Women’s Bobsleigh World Cup: The Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries (CAN) and bronze medallist at the World Championships Jamie Greubel Poser (USA) have finished on the podium together a total of four times, and neither athlete has finished lower than fifth place this winter. The Canadian athlete has two wins under her belt and leads Jamie Greubel Poser by 27 points ahead of the final race. With two second-place finishes and most recently four consecutive World Cup wins, the World Champion Elana Meyers Taylor is the most successful bobsleigh pilot of the winter. However, her crash at the opening event in Whistler leaves her trailing by a good 100 points and means she now only stands a theoretical chance of overall victory in the World Cup: Even if Elana Meyers Taylor manages to win in PyeongChang, a finish of 15th place of higher would be enough to make sure Kaillie Humphries retains her title. ©RWH2017
2-man bobsleigh: World Champion Francesco Friedrich has first overall World Cup win in his sights
PyeongChang (RWH): The race for the overall win in the 2016/2017 BMW IBSF World Cup is unbelievably tense in every single bobsleigh and skeleton discipline. However, Francesco Friedrich of Germany is probably in the most comfortable position as the overall leader in the 2-man bobsleigh. A total of 101 points currently separate the newly crowned World Champion and the second-place pilot Steven Holcomb of the USA.
It will also be exciting to see how local hero Yunjong Won fares on his home track in PyeongChang at the World Cup Finale. The Korean pilot, who last year became his country’s first athlete to secure the overall World Cup in the 2-man bobsleigh, is currently fourth overall. While the defending champion may not be able to make up the 200 points that separate him from the top spot, he still stands a good chance of closing the 40-point gap to the Russian pilot Alexander Kasjanov in third place. ©RWH2017
4-man bobsleigh: Alexander Kasjanov holds tight lead over Rico Peter ahead of the finale
PyeongChang (RWH): Alexander Kasjanov of Russia will be arriving at the finale to the 2016/2017 BMW IBSF World Cup as the overall leader in the 4-man bobsleigh standings. However, the silver medallist from the 2015 European Championships holds a narrow lead of just 14 points. The race for the overall title is therefore still wide open in this discipline: A win alone at the finale for Rico Peter of Switzerland, currently in second place, would be enough to give him at least a one-point lead over Alexander Kasjanov and secure him his first ever overall World Cup victory. The battle for third place at the Alpensia Sliding Centre in PyeongChang is likely to be between Steven Holcomb (USA) and the Russian pilot Alexey Stulnev: Holcomb, the 2010 Olympic Champion and the 2009 and 2012 World Champion, and Stulnev, who is enjoying his best season to date in this pre-Olympic year, are currently separated by just ten points. ©RWH2017
First for Jamaica: First ever teams on the starting line for the women’s bobsleigh and 2-man bobsleigh
PyeongChang (RWH): A first in PyeongChang: At the finale to the 2016/2017 BMW IBSF World Cup, the country will be represented in both the women’s bobsleigh and 2-man bobsleigh for the first time in history. Racing for the USA, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian finished in eleventh place in the women’s bobsleigh at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and third in the overall World Cup in 2015. Her husband Surf Fenlator-Victorian was the brakesman for US pilots Steven Holcomb, Nick Cunningham and Codie Bascue. He achieved his best result with Steven Holcomb: a victory in the two-man bobsleigh at the IBSF North American Cup in Park City in November 2014 and sixth place in the four-man bobsleigh World Cup at Lake Placid in December 2014.
At the finale to the 2016/2017 IBSF North American Cup in Lake Placid, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and her brakewoman Carrie Russel finished third to secure Jamaica’s first-ever podium finish in an IBSF race. ©RWH2017
IBSF media guides, starting lists, reports and results in the press area at ibsf.org
PyeongChang (RWH): Journalist have access to an extensive press area at ibsf.org (under the “Press” menu or directly at http://www.ibsf.org/de/presse-kontakt). 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
PyeongChang (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/de.
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/de/sender.
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
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