BMW IBSF World Cup: Dukurs, Flock, Jamanka and Friedrich lead the standings
Bree Walker wins women’s monobob world series race in Innsbruck
Innsbruck (RWH): Martins Dukurs (LAT, men’s skeleton), Janine Flock (AUT, women’s skeleton), Mariama Jamanka (GER, 2-woman bobsleigh) and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man bobsleigh) will start the fourth World Cup event – the last of 2020 – as the overall leaders of their respective standings. The agenda for the second weekend of the BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck (AUT) contains five races, including two 2-man bobsleigh races, to ring out the year.
The current leaders in the World Cup also sit atop the list of favourites: Martins Dukurs, who shared the top spot with Alexander Tretiakov of Russia the previous week, could celebrate his 57th World Cup win. The Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich is racing at a similar level: The World Champion in the 2-man bobsleigh has finished in first or second place in the World Cup on 26 successive occasions since December 2017. In contrast to Martins Dukurs, however, Friedrich has yet to take the lead when it comes to World Cup victories: This record is currently held by a fellow German team member, André Lange, who achieved 44 World Cup wins in total between 1998 and 2010. Friedrich has currently racked up 42 wins in the 2- and 4-man bobsleigh over nine years.
In the women’s skeleton, Janine Flock is eager to hang on to her yellow jersey as leader of the World Cup until 2021. With Flock on 650 points from two victories and one third-place finish, Kimberley Bos (NED, 620) is her only close competitor. Following three recent podium finishes, if she can manage to win in Innsbruck – and become the first female Dutch athlete to achieve this feat – Janine Flock would have to finish in at least third place.
In the 2-woman bobsleigh, Mariama Jamanka (GER) leads the overall standings ahead of the fourth race. However, in keeping with previous plans, the Olympic Champion will be giving up her place fourth World Cup event in favour of defending World Cup holder Stephanie Schneider.
The first women’s monobob world series race to be held during a BMW IBSF World Cup event was won in Innsbruck by Breeana Walker of Australia. Securing her third second-place finish, Katrin Beierl (AUT) took the lead in the overall standings for the racing series.
Prior to the first weekend of racing in Innsbruck, heavy snowfall transformed the track facilities into a very snowy winter wonderland but also led to training being cancelled. The forecasts for the last week before Christmas predict calmer weather, so nothing should stand in the way of intensive training opportunities for all disciplines.
Coinciding perfectly with the premiere of the women’s monobob world series at the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup last weekend, it was announced that construction on the artificial sliding track in Bludenz, west Austria was almost complete. The track, which is around 700 metres long, is due to be handed over for testing between Christmas and New Year. “We’ll be testing everything: bobsleigh, luge and skeleton. The entire track should then be open for sliding from February,” says Manfred Heinzelmaier, sports director at Eiskanal Bludenz GmbH. After this point, the new facility will open for training in luge, skeleton, monobob and 2-person bobsleigh, as well as sprint races and competitions for young athletes. ©RWH2020
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
Elisabeth Maier (CAN) celebrated her comeback in the BMW IBSF World Cup at the first weekend of racing in Innsbruck. On 24 December 2019, the 26-year-old welcomed her son Hendrix into the world along with Hendrix’s father, the Austrian bobsleigh pilot Benjamin Maier. Just a few weeks after giving birth, the skeleton athlete began training for her comeback on the Canadian national team – and went on to win the first qualification race in November 2020. She finished seventh on the first weekend in Innsbruck. ©RWH2020
Nathan Crumpton (ASA) is bringing some South Pacific spirit to the sliding track: The 35-year-old skeleton athlete has been racing for American Samoa, an island nation in the South Pacific, since last season. Nathan Crumpton has been competing in international skeleton races since 2012, racing as a member of Team USA until almost two years ago. His best result from his 17 World Cup appearances to date was a fifth-place finish in Park City (USA) in January 2016. Last winter, the American Samoan flag flew over the podium on six occasions in the North American Cup, adorning the top spot on no fewer than three occasions. His 24th-place ranking in the IBSF standings was rewarded with the chance to compete in the World Cup. So, while the BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck may not have been his debut appearance, it was his first time competing under a new flag. However, he has yet to record his first World Cup result for American Samoa – Nathan Crumpton was left unable to compete in the second heat after crashing in the out run. He will now get his second chance on 18 December. ©RWH2020
Brad Hall (GBR) and his team are racing for a good cause at the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup. His sled bears the logos of a number of charities, who will be receiving support. This is all possible thanks to the British team’s long-standing personal sponsor: “He is financing our season but does not wish to be named on the sled,” explained Brad Hall. “So, this year we came up with the alternative of providing support for organisations who rely on donations.” Ever since then, the front of the sled has borne a special message for the British healthcare service “Thank you NHS”. The sides of the sled feature the logos of organisations selected by the team members. A video about the team is available to view at Facebook/@ibsfsliding.
This season's winners in the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup - Skeleton
This season's winners in the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup - Bobsleigh pilots
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