Lölling, Jungk, Humphries, Lochner and Friedrichare first World Cup winners
Up-and-coming stars demonstrate their potential with strong finishes
Lake Placid (RWH): Jacqueline Lölling (GER, women’s skeleton), Kaillie Humphries (USA, 2-woman bobsleigh), Axel Jungk (GER, men’s skeleton) and Johannes Lochner and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man bobsleigh) have won the first races in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup season. They will all be reappearing at the second World Cup race of the winter on the now familiar ice in Lake Placid. The only change is that the male bobsleigh athletes will be switching to the larger sleighs: After two 2-man bobsleigh races were held at the season opener, two 4-man bobsleigh races are scheduled for the second weekend
At the first races of the season, experienced skeleton athletes had to ward off attacks from the new kids on the block: In the men's event, the Junior World Champion Felix Keisinger (GER) led the field after the first heat, also setting a new track record in Lake Placid. Youth Olympic Champion Evgeniy Rukosuev of Russia started out in fifth place. The fact that former champions in the form of Axel Jungk (GER), Martins Dukurs (LAT) and Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) ultimately ended up on the podium is likely due solely to the younger athletes’ lack of experience. In the women’s skeleton, Junior World Champion Anna Fernstädtová – competing for the Czech Republic for the first time in the World Cup – was in fifth place after the first heat, so within reach of the podium. With Jacqueline Lölling (GER) taking first place, the 22-year-old ended up finishing in seventh.
The situation was similar in the 2-woman bobsleigh. While the winner of the opening race, the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries is not a new face, she was competing for a new team, having raced for Team USA since the start of a season. However, after the World Championship silver medallist Stephanie Schneider in second, there was one spot left on the podium for one of the youngest teams in the field: U23 World Champion Kim Kalicki finished third in Lake Placid.
In the two 2-man bobsleigh races, it was local hero Hunter Church who demonstrated the most potential. The 23-year-old was second at the mid-way point of the first race, and third at the same point in the second race. He ended up in fifth place in both races. As well as the winner of the opening race Johannes Lochner (GER), he was beaten to the podium by both Olympic Champions Francesco Friedrich (GER) and Justin Kripps (CAN). ©RWH2019
The schedule for Lake Placid
On the sidelines
Kelly Curtis (USA), the overall winner in the women's skeleton in the 2018/2019 IBSF North America Cup, will receive support from the Women’s Sports Foundation's (WSF) Travel & Training Fund this season. The 30-year-old was announced as this year’s recipient in a Facebook post by the WSF. Kelly Curtis finished in the top three at six of the eight races in last winter’s IBSF North America Cup and ended the series at the finale in Calgary (CAN) with her second win of the season. In the 2019/2020 season, Kelly Curtis is competing in the IBSF Intercontinental Cup for Team USA. She finished in sixth and eighth in Sochi (RUS). In Winterberg, she only just missed out on the podium in fourth place and is currently fifth in the overall standings. ©RWH2019
Victoria Williamson (GBR) is a new face on the British bobsleigh team. The 26-year-old had previously been a member of the British cycling team for a good ten years. As a junior, she won multiple medals at the European Championships as well as silver at the 2010 Junior World Championships. At her first appearance in the World Championships in 2013, Victoria Williamson raced with Rebecca James to win bronze in the team sprint. In a crash in 2016, the British cyclist broke her pelvis and several vertebrae. She spent months fighting her way back into the sport and most recently finished third in the team sprint at the 2019 British Championships. After joining the British bobsleigh team, Victoria Williamson is now working with pilot Mica McNeill, the 2016 Junior World Champion. At the opening race to the IBSF European Cup, the pair finished fifth on the World Championship track in Altenberg (GER). ©RWH2019
Lelde Priedulena (LAT) and Dorin Velicu (ROU) have recently joined the skeleton coaching team at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF). Lelde Priedulena was the 2016 Junior World Champion in the women’s skeleton, becoming the first female Latvian athlete to achieve this feat. She ended her career as an athlete at the end of last winter. Working for the IBSF, the 26-year-old and her assistant Nick Vienneau are looking after athletes in North America at the OMEGA youth qualification races for the 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games (YOG) and at the races in the IBSF North American Cup and Intercontinental Cup. Dorin Velicu competed as a skeleton athlete for Romania, including at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Games. He is currently responsible for youth athletes in Europe and is supporting the IBSF coach Joska le Conté in the Intercontinental Cup. The IBSF bobsleigh coaching team in North America also has a prominent new member: the Olympic silver medallist Elana Meyers Taylor (USA), who is expecting her first child, will be supporting IBSF coach Bryan Berghorn this winter. ©RWH2019
This season’s winners in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup – Skeleton
This season’s winners in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup – Bobsleigh pilots
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