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Photo: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis
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BMW IBSF World Cup surmounts first weekend under COVID-19 rules
Start and track records, victory for some fan favourites and surprising podium finishes

Sigulda (RWH): Athletes, teams and organisers have put their first weekend of racing in the BMW IBSF World Cup 2020/2021 behind them: the first in a winter season shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the journey to the starting line normally involves meeting quotas and completing qualification races, there were a few other stipulations to follow this time around: Coronavirus tests prior to arrival, another test upon arrival and after the first week of racing, accompanied by an extensive hygiene concept set out by the IBSF and the organisation committee in Sigulda (LAT). The majority of those participating in the World Cup managed to surmount the path to safe racing with ease. For the athletes, reaching for their masks as soon as their helmets are off has already become second nature. And the same goes for social distancing with anyone outside of your own team: no high fives, no handshakes, no arms round everyone else on the podium. Thanks to the outstanding organisation on site run by the Latvian Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and the track team in Sigulda, as well as the discipline demonstrated by everyone involved, the season got off to a successful start.

 

Joy over the return of bobsleigh and skeleton

Despite everything that is going on, the most common feelings expressed by the athletes in the bobsleigh and skeleton World Cup were their joy and gratitude that they were able to take part at all. “Of course, we are happy to have the chance to race,” said defending title holder Martins Dukurs (LAT) after his 55th World Cup win. “Without the huge numbers of fans here in Sigulda, it is obviously a lot different than normal, but we understand the situation. Thank you to the IBSF and everyone who has contributed to the organisation.” “Back in the spring and summer, we never believed that we would be able to race,” added the winner in the 2-woman bobsleigh Mariama Jamanka. “But the IBSF made it possible and we are super happy about that.”

New start and track records in the bobsleigh and skeleton

In terms of sporting action, fans got to witness – albeit not at the track, but on live broadcasts and streams – athletes setting new start and track records, experienced athletes taking victory, and a few surprising faces on the podium. The opening events in the skeleton were won by Janine Flock (AUT) and Martins Dukurs (LAT). Victory in the first 2-woman bobsleigh race of the season went to Olympic Champion Mariama Jamanka with Vanessa Mark. There was a double winner in the two 2-man bobsleigh events and that achievement went to Francesco Friedrich. The Olympic and World Champion and his brakeman Christian Schüller also set a new start record. New track records for Sigulda were also set by Janine Flock in the women’s skeleton and Johannes Lochner/Christian Rasp (GER) in the 2-man bobsleigh. The start record for the 2-woman bobsleigh is now held by Laura Nolte/Deborah Levi (GER).


Endija Terauda wins 111th skeleton medal for Latvia

The host team Latvia celebrated not only its 110th World Cup medal in the men’s skeleton thanks to the win by Martins Dukurs but also its first ever medal in the women’s skeleton: Making her BMW IBSF World Cup debut, Endija Terauda finished in third on her home track. ©RWH2020


The second World Cup weekend in Sigulda
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Subject to changes – Up-to-date times (local time at the track and the user's local time) are listed on the IBSF website. ©RWH2020


On the sidelines

In her first appearance as coach for the Netherlands, Joska Le Conté (NED) managed to achieve the best ever skeleton result for the country in the BMW IBSF World Cup. Her athlete Kimberley Bos finished second in Sigulda. During her time as an athlete from 2008 to 2018, Joska Le Conté, who finished sixth in the 2016 European Championships, competed in 81 World Cup races. As a coach under the IBSF development programme, she coached skeleton athletes from smaller countries after retiring from active sport until the end of last winter. ©RWH2020

Endija Terauda (LAT) made skeleton history at the first BMW IBSF World Cup event in Sigulda by becoming the first female athlete from Latvia to make it onto the podium after finishing in third. Lelde Priedulena, the 2016 Junior World Champion, finished just behind the World Cup podium places by taking fourth place on multiple occasions prior to the end of her career in 2019. ©RWH2020 

Yin Zheng (CHN) continues to hold the men’s skeleton start record for Sigulda even after the World Cup opener. At the finale to last season on 15 February 2020, the 24-year-old Chinese athlete became the fastest starter ever, recording a time of 4.47 seconds over the first metres at his first and, to date, only World Cup appearance. And none of the athletes at the first BMW IBSF World Cup 2020/2021 event managed to beat his time either, though Junior World Champion Felix Keisinger (GER) came within one hundredth of a second with 4.48 seconds. ©RWH2020

Johannes Lochner (GER) started the BMW IBSF World Cup 2020/2021 season as more or less a rookie. The World Championship runner-up has been a bobsleigh pilot on the international stage since December 2014, completing 29 World Cup races in the 2-man bobsleigh prior to the start of this season, as well as 15 Europe Cup races. However, one venue missing from his record: Sigulda. “It is hard to believe but I have actually never raced in Sigulda,” said Johannes Lochner in the German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation’s preview in Germany. “And that is exactly what I enjoy most about the sport: arriving somewhere, a new track – the fact that it is never the same thing over and over.” And the result of his successful debut? Two silver medals and a track record. ©RWH2020



This season's winners in the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup - Skeleton

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This season's winners in the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup - Bobsleigh pilots
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Further information

>> Athlete profiles on ibsf.org with medals tables, news and photos for all athletes

>> All results from IBSF races and training sessions     >> The current rankings

>> Photos are available on the IBSF Flickr account (editorial purposes only and with photo credits!)

>> Press accreditation is available from the respective track – please consult the COVID-19 regulations in good time and register in advance! >> Information on the IBSF’s COVID-19 regulations

 

As usual, all races in the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup will be available to view on a live stream on ibsf.org (with live results ticker) or Youtube. Information about channels and TV broadcasts is available at ibsf.org/en/broadcasters 

 

Further information, photos and videos are available on our social media channels / @IBSFsliding:

www.facebook.com/IBSFsliding
www.twitter.com/ibsfsliding
www.instagram.com/ibsfsliding
www.youtube.com/IBSFsliding
www.flickr.com/photos/ibsfsliding
www.tiktok.com/@ibsfsliding

  

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