World Cup in Winterberg with European Championships for the 4-man Bobsleigh
Local heroes and international stars among the favourites on Skeleton Sunday
Winterberg (RWH): An initial dose of 4-man-bobsleigh action at the opener on Friday, the European Championships for the main event on Saturday, rounded off with Skeleton Sunday featuring local heroes Jacqueline Lölling and Alexander Gassner: At the first European stop on the BMW IBSF World Cup tour, the IBSF's athletes look set to offer some top-class winter sports entertainment.
A double World Cup feature and European Championships for the 4-man bobsleigh
With a break from normal proceedings, Friday will see the 4-man bobsleigh pilots and their teams open the year 2020 and the Winterberg World Cup weekend. 24 4-man teams from 16 countries are signed up to compete. Arriving in Winterberg as the leader of the overall rankings is Justin Kripps. The Canadian remains unbeaten after the two World Cup races in Lake Placid (USA) in December. Olympic Champion, World Champion and defending World Cup title holder Francesco Friedrich and European Champion Johannes Lochner tied in fourth place in Lake Placid’s first race before finishing in third and second place in the second race. And some say there’s no question as to whether they can do even better in front of a home crowd. The matter of Nico Walther's return to the German team after injury will be decided following a selection race on 30 December.
Based on the results so far, the teams from Latvia and the USA may also get a look-in at the World Cup: The World Championship runner-up Oskars Kibermanis (LAT) is currently third overall, while Hunter Church (USA) demonstrated his top-three ambitions by finishing fifth in Lake Placid. Saturday afternoon in Winterberg will also see European athletes battle it out for gold, silver and bronze in the 4-man bobsleigh European Championships at this winter’s fourth World cup race.
2-woman bobsleigh: Spotlight on the Olympic Champions
Hitting the headlines in the 2-woman bobsleigh at the Winterberg World Cup race are a group of Olympic Champions: Kaillie Humphries secured Olympic gold for Canada in 2010 and 2014. Competing for the USA this winter, the bobsleigh pilot won the first two races in Lake Placid and will arrive in Winterberg at the top of the rankings. In contrast, Mariama Jamanka (GER), the 2018 Olympic Champion, World Champion and defending World Cup title holder is still waiting for her first podium finish of the season after finishing in fourth and fifth in Lake Placid. The third member of the trio of Olympic Champions is Laura Nolte (GER). In 2016, the 21-year-old won gold at the Youth Winter Olympics and will be celebrating her World Cup debut on her Winterberg home track.
Suspense on Skeleton Sunday
A highlight to close proceedings in Winterberg will be Skeleton Sunday, which will see both male and female athletes hit the sled and speed head-first down the ice track after a sprint start. An extra special treat for home fans: Local hero Jacqueline Lölling (GER) is currently leading the World Cup standings and her team-mate Alexander Gassner, who is also from Winterberg, has already finished within reach of the podium after coming fourth in the opening race. However, some international talent will also provide excitement in the skeleton World Cup: In the four races so far, there have been four different winners, while athletes from twelve nations have enjoyed a top-ten finish. ©RWH2020
The schedule for Winterberg
On the sidelines
Andi Schmid (AUT) is the head skeleton coach for the Chinese team. Working with Willi Schneider (GER), he is preparing the athletes from the future Olympic host country for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Austria’s Andi Schmid achieved the most success of his coaching career as a coach for British Skeleton between 2001 and 2018. His athletes won medals at all five Winter Olympic Games from 2002 onwards, as well as winning at World and European Championships. During his time as a coach, the UK became one of the leading nations in skeleton. As an athlete for Austria, Andi Schmid became one of the most successful skeleton athletes of his era. He won the 1993 World Championships, the 1987 European Championships and also won the overall World Cup in 1987 and 1988. In 2018, Andi Schmid received the IOC Coach’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Austrian was chosen from the 98 nominees from 38 countries. Willi Schneider, the 1998 Skeleton World Champion, is the track coach and responsible for the Chinese team’s equipment. ©RWH2020
Maria Constantin is racing for the German team in the 2019/2020 season. Born in Romania, the 28-year-old bobsleigh pilot competed for her country of birth from 2011. Maria Constantin’s appearances for Romania included two Winter Olympic Games (2014 and 2018) and three World Championships (2015, 2016 and 2017). At the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships in Königssee (GER), she won team bronze with an international team and was the only female pilot to enter a women’s team in the 4-man bobsleigh event. This winter, Maria Constantin is competing for Germany in the IBSF Europe Cup. She finished ninth in Altenberg at the start of the season. Moving in the opposite direction from the German to the Romanian team is bobsleigh brake athlete Katharina Wick: the 22-year-old German is starting this season with the 2019 Junior World Champion Andreea Grecu (ROU). At the start of the season, the Romanian pairing won in Altenberg, the host track for the 2020 World Championships. ©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
>> Athlete profiles on ibsf.org with medals tables, news and photos for all athletes
You can follow the action in all races in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup on our live stream and the live results ticker ibsf.org as usual. In Latvia, LTV has exclusive broadcasting rights for all events, which will appear either on TV or on its own live stream. NBC/Olympic Channel (USA), CBC (Canada) and SRG (Switzerland) will be showing some World Cup races live and ARD and ZDF in Germany will showing some races live or live or with a short delay. In these countries, the live stream on ibsf.org and Youtube will be blocked.
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