Team Canada has already celebrated six podium finishes ahead of home event
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Whistler (RWH): For the first time this season, all five of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s (IBSF) World Cup disciplines will be on agenda when the tour moves to Whistler Sliding Center. At the first stop in the World Cup season in Lake Placid, two 2-man bobsleigh races took place on account of the unusually warm weather, meaning that Park City (USA) then hosted two 4-man bobsleigh races. The third stop for the BMW IBSF World Cup in the Olympic season will be taking place in Whistler (CAN), where athletes in the women’s skeleton, men’s skeleton, women's bobsleigh, 2-man bobsleigh and 4-man bobsleigh will be battling it out for a place on the podium and for important points to qualify for the Winter Games in PyeongChang.
Ahead of their home World Cup event, the Canadian team has already celebrated six podium finishes: In Lake Placid, Kaillie Humphries/Melissa Lotholz came first in the women's bobsleigh, while Elisabeth Vathje (women’s skeleton) and Justin Kripps/Alexander Kopacz (2-man bobsleigh) finished second. In Park City, Humphries/Lotholz came second while the 4-man squads led by Justin Kripps and Chris Spring finished in second and third. ©RWH2017
Anna Fernstädt replaces Sophia Griebel in Whistler
Whistler (RWH) Skeleton athlete Anna Fernstädt (GER) replaces teammate Sophia Griebel at BMW IBSF World Cup in Whistler. „Following her results at the first two World Cups, Sophia Griebel for the third event in Whistler will be replaced with Anna Fernstädt“, said German head coach Jens Müller according to the German Federation BSD. „Based on the Whistler results, we will decide how to continue.“
Sophia Griebel returned to the German World Cup team this season after an 18 month break due to injury. She finished 23rd in Lake Placid and 13th in Park City.
Anna Fernstädt finished fourth at 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships and was eighth overall in World Cup. She started the season in IBSF Intercontinental Cup after missing the German standard start time for the World Cup. Anna Fernstädt currently leads the overall ICC ranking after three victories – including Whistler – in four races. ©RWH2017
Hurdler Phylicia George joins the Canadian bobsleigh team
Whistler (RWH): Phylicia George, who finished sixth in 100-metre hurdles at the London 2012 Olympics, has joined the Canadian bobsleigh team as a new brakewoman. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton officially appointed the sprinter, who celebrated her 30th birthday on 16 November, as a member of the national team for the 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup back in October. Phylicia George was recruited by pilot Kaillie Humphries. “I want to make sure that Canada is represented by the best athletes that we have,” said the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champion in a report on nationalpost.com at the start of the season. “Phylicia falls into that category.”
For the first two races of the Olympic season, Kaillie Humphries relied on the more experienced Melissa Lotholz. The pairing won the opening World Cup race in Lake Placid and also finished second in Park City. ©RWH2017
Lascelles Brown sets his sights on fifth Olympic Games
Whistler (RWH): Bobsleigh brakeman Lascelles Brown (CAN) is working towards his fifth Olympic Games in the winter of 2017/2018. The now 43-year-old competed in his first Winter Games at Utah Olympic Park in Park City in 2002, when he was a brakeman for pilot Winston Watt and racing on behalf of his home country Jamaica. The pair finished in 27th place.
After receiving Canadian citizenship, Lascelles Brown won Olympic silver with Pierre Lueders in the two-man event in 2006, and bronze in Lyndon Rush’s four-man team at Vancouver 2010. After temporarily switching to Monaco’s team, Lascelles Brown pushed Patrice Servelle to second in the bobsleigh World Cup in Calgary in December 2010, and thus secured the first ever World Cup podium placing for Monaco. The brakeman then returned to Canada in 2012 and has been racing for the country ever since. At Sochi 2014, Lascelles Brown raced with Lyndon Rush, finishing ninth in both the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh.
In the 2017/2018 Olympic winter, Lascelles Brown is on pilot Justin Kripps’ 4-man squad. At the first BMW IBSF World Cup race in Park City, the team – completed by Ben Coakwell and Neville Wright – finished in second place. ©RWH2017
The World Cup schedule for Whistler
On the sidelines
For Helen Upperton and Jesse Lumsden (CAN), the BMW IBSF World Cup in Whistler will be a family affair. Upperton, a former bobsleigh pilot who took Olympic silver at Whistler 2010, and Lumsden, the World Championship runner-up in 2012 (with pilot Lyndon Rush) and 2017 (with pilot Justin Kripps) became parents to daughter Florence over the summer. While Helen Upperton ended her career as an athlete in 2012 and is now passing on her experience as a coach, Jesse Lumsden is hoping to qualify for the Canadian bobsleigh team in PyeongChang in winter 2017/2018, which could be his third Winter Games. His chances of achieving this goal are already looking good ahead of the Canadians’ home World Cup in Whistler: Jesse Lumsden, who finished second in the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2017 World Championships in Königssee with Justin Kripps, has already enjoyed success with two pilots on the first two stops in the Olympic season: He finished fourth with Justin Kripps and fifth with Chris Spring in the 2-man bobsleigh In the 4-man bobsleigh, the 35-year-old finished third and fifth with Chris Spring’s team. ©RWH2017
Tomass Dukurs (LAT) beat his younger brother Martins to the honour of securing the first ever World Cup win for Latvia in the field of skeleton. The now 36-year-old won the race in Sigulda (LAT) on 6 February 2004, which was the first ever World Cup victory for a Latvian skeleton athlete. Since then Tomass Dukurs has only ever taken the top spot on one further occasion: at the 2016 IBSF European Championships in St. Moritz. However, he had to share this title with his brother Martins, who recorded exactly the same time, right down to the nearest hundredth of a second. ©RWH2017
Photo: IBSF/David McColm