Preview: World Cup finale and Olympic rehearsals in Königssee
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Königssee (RWH): This weekend (19 to 21 January) will see the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s (IBSF) athletes travelling to Königssee (GER) for the World Cup finale and a chance to rehearse ahead of the Olympics.
Defending title holder Jacqueline Lölling looks set to take next overall World Cup win
In the women’s skeleton event, Jacqueline Lölling (GER) is poised to successfully retain the title of overall World Cup winner after also taking the title last year. A total of 85 points separate Lölling from Canada's Elisabeth Vathje in second place. With 225 points awarded for a win and 144 given to the athlete in tenth place, a top-ten result would be enough to secure the overall title for the defending holder. And her chances look good: At her last two World Cup races in Königssee, she took home one gold and one silver, while the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships on the track saw Jacqueline Lölling win her first World Championship gold.
Sungbin Yun to miss the World Cup finale
As the results stood last week, the outcome in the men’s skeleton event appeared even more certain. Sungbin Yun of Korea was looking like a good bet to replace Martins Dukurs as overall World Cup holder after Dukurs’ eight successive years at the top. Even a 16th-place finish at the finale in Königssee would have been enough to secure Yun his first ever overall win in the BMW IBSF World Cup three weeks ahead of the Winter Games in his home country. However, the Korean athlete has decided to miss the final World Cup race of the season in order to prepare for the Olympics, meaning that 13th place in Königssee would now be enough to enable Martins Dukurs to successfully defend his title.
Canada and the USA go head-to-head in the battle for overall win in women’s bobsleigh
The outcome of the battle between Canada and the USA to be named overall winners in the women’s bobsleigh will not be decided until the finale in Königssee. Current leader Kaillie Humphries (CAN) has a 30-point lead over World Champion Elana Meyers Taylor of the USA. So, if the US pilot wins in Königssee, Kaillie Humphries needs to finish at least third to win the overall BMW IBSF World Cup standings for the fourth time after 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Canada’s Justin Kripps is favourite to take the title in the 2-man bobsleigh
Justin Kripps of Canada will arrive for the World Cup final in Königssee as the favourite to take home the overall title. The 2017 World Championship runner-up currently has a 152-point lead over World Champion and defending World Cup title holder Francesco Friedrich (GER). Were Friedrich to win the final race, Kripps would only have to finish in 19th to be able to take home his first ever Crystal Globe trophy as the overall World Cup title holder. And the track in Königssee, also the world's oldest artificial track, has been kind to the Canadian in the past: He achieved his first World Cup victory here in 2014, finished third here in 2015 and also secured silver in last year’s World Championships on the track.
Johannes Lochner facing home World Cup race as favourite in 4-man bobsleigh
After winning the 4-man bobsleigh race in St. Moritz (SUI), the World Champion Johannes Lochner (GER) looks set to win his first overall title in the BMW IBSF World Cup. In the overall standings for the 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup, Johannes Lochner (GER, 1,460 points) has further extended his lead over Francesco Friedrich (GER, 1,292). To secure the title, the 26-year-old athlete merely needs to finish 21st in front of his home crowd in Königssee. ©RWH2018
Mixed 4-man bobsleigh team from North and South Korea could forerun Olympic races
PyeongChang (RWH) A mixed 4-man bobsleigh team with athletes from North and South Korea could be among the sleds testing the conditions ahead of the Olympic 4-man races scheduled for February 24 and 25, 2018. Ivo Ferriani (ITA), President of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF, and Vice President Sport Darrin Steele (USA) are currently planning to build this very special team forerunning the Olympic races at the PyeongChang (KOR) Winter Games next month.
„Bobsleigh is a team sport like no other“, said IBSF President Ivo Ferriani. „The athletes must trust each other and cooperate perfectly in the narrowest of spaces. A mixed bobsleigh team would bring the athletes of both countries really close together.”
Ivo Ferriani and Darrin Steele, both former bobsleigh athletes and coaches, would prepare and coach the team themselves. The crew will be made up of an experienced pilot and a push athlete from South Korea with two more push athletes from the North.
The International Olympic Committee IOC is currently examining the request. ©RWH2018
Last year’s winners at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Königssee
Youth Olympic Champion Laura Nolte named as first ever U23 European Champion
Winterberg (RWH): Four athletes from three countries, including the Youth Olympic Champion Laura Nolte (GER), have become the first ever Junior European Champions in the history of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF). Following the final race in the 2017/2018 IBSF Europe Cup, the title was awarded to the U23 and U26 athletes with the most points in the series’ overall standings.
Laura Nolte, who won the title of Youth Olympic Champion in the monobob at the 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games (YOG) in Lillehammer, won the title of U23 European Champion in women’s bobsleigh. European Championship gold in the U26 category went to Austria’s Katrin Beierl.
Another competitor from the YOG, Mihai Tentea, was named U23 European Champion in the 2-man and also 4-man bobsleigh. In 2016, the Romanian athlete only just missed out on a medal in Lillehammer, finishing fourth in the monobob. The Europe Cup final in Winterberg also saw Christoph Hafer of Germany take home the title of U26 European Champion in the 2-man bobsleigh and teammate Bennet Buchmüller (GER) in the 4-man bobsleigh.©RWH2018
Bobsleigh pilot Bruce Tasker suffers minor stroke
Bath (RWH): The British bobsleigh pilot Bruce Tasker has suffered a minor stroke. As reported in a press release by British Bobsleigh & Skeleton (BBSA), the 30-year-old athlete missed the BMW IBSF World Cup race in Altenberg (GER) to receive scheduled treatment on a hip injury. However, he was then admitted to hospital after experiencing dizziness and nausea and was diagnosed with having suffered a minor stroke.
Despite the fact he has already been released from hospital and is planning to return to the sport soon, the BBSA has stated that Bruce Tasker will not be competing in the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang next month.
“I’m gutted not to be able to go to the Olympics but I’m very grateful that I’m still fit and healthy,” said Tasker, who finished in fifth as the brakeman for pilot John James Jackson at both the 2013 IBSF World Championships in St. Moritz and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
After switching to the steering ropes, Bruce Tasker made his World Cup début as a pilot in the 2-man bobsleigh in La Plagne in December 2015 but also remained part of Lamin Deen’s team in the 4-man bobsleigh for a long time. In the 2017/2018 Olympic season, he was 29th in the overall standings in the 2-man bobsleigh. ©RWH2018
The World Cup schedule for Königssee
On the sidelines
Hannah Neise (GER) is back on the ice track after a period of injury. The 17-year-old athlete, who won silver at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer (NOR), missed out on the first half of the 2017/2018 winter season due to injury. After almost a year away from the track, Hannah Neise returned to her first IBSF races, competing in the Intercontinental Cup in St. Moritz (SUI) and Altenberg (GER), where she finished third to make it onto the podium for the first time. The athlete, who finished 10th in the 2017 Junior World Championships, is due to compete in the final of IBSF Intercontinental Cup in Innsbruck (AUT) this weekend. ©RWH2018
Clemens Bracher (SUI) has enjoyed by far the best season of his career in the run-up to the Olympics. At the start of the Olympic season, the Swiss athlete – who will celebrate his 30th birthday on the final day of the Winter Olympics on 25 February – celebrated two wins in the 2-man bobsleigh in the IBSF Europe Cup. After switching to the BMW IBSF World Cup, Clemens Bracher caused a sensation in Winterberg by winning his first ever 2-man bobsleigh race. One week later in Innsbruck (AUT), he and his brakeman Michael Kuonen finished third in the World Cup and won silver in the European Championships. The new year saw Clemens Bracher and his team win the Swiss Championships in both the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh. After returning to the European Cup with a win in the 4-man bobsleigh, he then missed out on the result he needed (16th) to meet the Swiss qualification requirements by a mere two tenths of a second when he finished 18th at the World Cup race in St. Moritz. ©RWH2018
Simidele Adeagbo (NGR) is the first female athlete from Africa to reach the podium in an IBSF race. The 36-year-old athlete from the USA has Nigerian roots. She finished third in the last two races of the season in the IBSF North American Cup in Lake Placid (USA) and came 12th in the overall standings for the series. With that, Simidele Adeagbo as continental … from Africa also got an Olympic quota place for Nigeria at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games – alongside her teammates around pilot Seun Adigun (NGR) in women’s bobsleigh and Akwasi Frimpong from Ghana in men’s skeleton. Also at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin (ITA) an athlete from Africa was among the competitors. Tyler Botha of South Africa, who is now 37 and was born in Cape Town, competed in skeleton between 2003 and 2006, making it onto the podium in the now defunct Challenge Cup and finishing 15th at the Turin Winter Olympics. ©RWH2018
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