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Athletes from 42 countries qualify for the 2019 BMW IBSF World Championships
Whistler (RWH): Athletes from 42 different countries have qualified to compete in the 2019 BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler (CAN). Nations from North America, Europe and Asia take part and the line-up also includes Australia and New Zealand representing Oceania. Athletes from Central and South America have also qualified, representing Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Athletes from Ghana and Nigeria have been allocated spots for Africa. The respective National Federations are due to decide, if and which athletes make use of the quota spots.
The host nation of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will also be well represented at the event: One female skeleton athlete from China has qualified for the BMW IBSF World Championships, along with two male skeleton athletes and two teams each for the 2-woman bobsleigh, 2-man bobsleigh and 4-man bobsleigh.
Korea – the host of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games – has also qualified for all World Championship disciplines, including three athletes in the men’s skeleton and two teams each for the men’s bobsleigh events.
Hosts Canada will be entering one of the strongest teams for their home World Championships in Whistler, entering three teams in each of the bobsleigh events, three female skeleton athletes and two male skeleton athletes. ©RWH2019
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Olympic Champions Kripps and Friedrich are favourites for Whistler too
Whistler (RWH): The 2-man bobsleigh Olympic Champions Justin Kripps of Canada and Francesco Friedrich of Germany are top of the list of favourites for the 2019 BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler (CAN) one year after the Winter Games in PyeongChang. The defending World Champion, current European Champion and overall World Cup winner Friedrich is the first ever bobsleigh pilot to complete the perfect World Cup season, with eight wins out of eight races on his side. He also has not been beaten in the 2-man event for over a year now. On the other hand, local hero Justin Kripps – who only competed in five out of the eight World Cup races in the post-Olympic season – has the home advantage and plenty of experience on the World Championship track on his side. The last Canadians to win the 2-man bobsleigh World Championships were Pierre Lueders/Lascelles Brown in 2005 in Calgary.
As well as the pairs from Canada and Germany, a few other teams are in with a chance for a medal at the World Championships, such as Oskars Kibermanis of Latvia or the French pilot Romain Heinrich. Kibermanis, who finished second in the 2018/2019 overall standings, achieved five podium finishes out of eight races and never finished below sixth place. Romain Heinrich has also been enjoying his best sason to date, winning a bronze medal at the European Championships in Königssee and finishing second in Lake Placid for his first top-three finish. ©RWH2019
Several athletes tipped for gold in the 2-woman bobsleigh
Olympic Champion Mariama Jamanka as front runner
Whistler (RWH): Olympic Champion, Overall World Cup winner, European Champion: Unsurprisingly, bobsleigh pilot Mariama Jamanka of Germany is also the favourite to win the BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler. If she were to win, it would mark her first ever title in the event. However, she has plenty of strong competition, not least from her own camp as well as from the defending title holder, Elana Meyers Taylor of the USA, who won World Championship gold in 2015 and 2017 and has been in great form in the 2018/2019 season. With seven podium finishes including two wins in the BMW IBSF World Cup, the silver medallist from the PyeongChang Olympics is also in contention to win the World Championships in Whistler.
And the home team? Alysia Rissling and Christine de Bruin of Canada each competed in three of this season’s eight World Cup races, with Christine de Bruin finishing second in both Altenberg and Lake Placid to secure her first ever top-three rankings. Away from the World Cup, the Canadians have been busy concentrating on their home World Championships in Whistler. At the North American Cup race on the World Championship track in December 2018, Christine de Bruin finished fourth in two races while Alysia Rissling finished in fifth and eighth. The two pilots have also been testing their mettle in the women’s monobob, which is set to have its Olympic première at Beijing 2022. Christine de Bruin won the event in Königssee (GER), where her team mate Rissling finished fifth. Registered for the third Canadian spot is Overall North American Cup Champion Kori Hol.
Austria’s Katrin Beierl has also enjoyed a particularly successful season. After the 25-year-old ended up with a surprise bronze medal at the European Championships in Königssee (GER), she then went on to secure the Junior World Championship title along with eligibility to compete in the World Cup.
Kaillie Humphries is one athlete who won’t be competing in Whistler. The Canadian athlete, who won the World Championships in 2012 and 2013, won her first of two Olympic gold medals in Whistler back in 2010. After winning Olympic bronze in PyeongChang in 2018, she announced that she would be taking a season-long break from bobsleigh this winter. ©RWH2019
The timetable for the first World Championship week in Whistler
2017 BMW IBSF World Championships in Königssee - Champions and medal winners
Defending title holders Germany, hosts Canada and Russian team among the favourites
Whistler (RWH): Based purely on statistics alone, World Championship gold in the team event would be more or less a done deal. The first weekend at the BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler will come to close on Sunday (24 February) with athletes battling it out for medals in the team event. The favourites for 2019 once again include the defending title holders, Germany, who won in Königssee in 2017 with a team made up of Mariama Jamanka/Franziska Bertels, Johannes Lochner/Christian Rasp, Jacqueline Lölling and Axel Jungk. This year will be the tenth time the team event has taken place since it was added to the World Championship programme in 2007, with seven out of the nine titles to date going to the German team. Team USA won the World Championships in 2012 and 2013.
The Canadians may be in with the best shot to take home a medal on their home track. They won World Championship silver back in 2008, as well as a bronze medal in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Canada has strong athletes in all four disciplines for this year’s race in Whistler and could theoretically enter two promising teams to compete in front of their home crowd.
Russia’s prospects in the team event at the Whistler World Championships should not be underestimated either. After all, they have two overall World Cup holders in skeleton in their ranks in the form of Elena Nikitina and Alexander Tretiakov.
And – last but not least – there is also a chance that an international team made up of athletes from different countries could decide to enter. A mixed team of athletes from Romania and Germany won World Championship bronze this way back in 2017. ©RWH2019
Olympic Champion Friedrich aims to break Eugenio Monti’s World Championship record
Whistler (RWH): The bobsleigh Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich (GER) will be out to break a big record at the BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler (CAN). If the overall World Cup winner and defending World Champion were to win gold in the 2-man event, he would equal the record for consecutive wins set by legendary bobsleigh pilot, Eugenio Monti (ITA). Between 1957 and 1961, Monti won the World Championship title in the 2-man bobsleigh five times in a row. “We have to win in Whistler to equal the record,” said Francesco Friedrich in an interview with the German Press Agency (dpa) at the start of the season. “Then – at the 2020 World Championships on my home track in Altenberg, just half an hour away from where I live – I hope to get the sixth victory so I can have the record all to myself.” In terms of total titles, Eugenio Monti still has the edge in the 2-man bobsleigh: The Italian also became the 2-man bobsleigh World Champion in 1963 and 1966, giving him seven World Championship golds overall. ©RWH2019
On the sidelines
The Junior World Champion Richard Oelsner (GER) will not be competing at the BMW IBSF World Championships in Whistler. Oelsner won the 2019 IBSF Junior World Championships in both the 2-man and 4-man events at the beginning of February. All current Junior World Champions automatically become eligible to compete in the World Championships the same season. However, the German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation and head coach René Spies already announced that any German Bobsleigh Junior World Champions would not be competing in the World Championships before the season even started. ©RWH2019
This season’s winners in the 2018/2019 BMW IBSF World Cup – Skeleton
This season’s winners in the 2018/2019 BMW IBSF World Cup – Bobsleigh
7 Mar 2019
Defending Skeleton World Champion Martins Dukurs on track to win gold at mid-way point in Whistler
5 Mar 2019
BMW IBSF Bobsleigh + Skeleton World Championships - Preview 2, Skeleton and 4-man Bobsleigh
3 Feb 2019
Defending champion Anna Fernstädt with Junior World Championship title for Czech Republic this time