Finale to the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck
Two female Austrian athletes set to battle it out for World Cup victory on their home track
Innsbruck (RWH): This coming weekend (29–31 January), Innsbruck Olympic sliding track (AUT) will be hosting the finale to the 2020/2021 BMW IBSF World Cup. Ahead of the eighth race of the season, two female Austrian athletes are currently leading their fields: Janine Flock in the women’s skeleton and Katrin Beierl in the 2-woman bobsleigh. Martins Dukurs (LAT, men’s skeleton) and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh) are also the overall leaders of their disciplines – and Benjamin Maier (AUT), currently second overall in the 4-man bobsleigh, also stands a good chance of finishing on the podium.
In the women’s skeleton, Janine Flock was able to further extend her overall lead by finishing third at the penultimate race of the season in Königssee. The Austrian athlete has finished on the winner’s podium at all seven World Cup stops this season – and celebrated the last of her three wins so far this winter by breaking the Innsbruck track record in December 2020. At the World Cup finals on her home track, a mere 80 points (18th place) will suffice for the Austrian to take her second overall win after 2015. Second overall is World Champion Tina Hermann (GER, 1339).
In the men’s skeleton, the leader, Martins Dukurs of Latvia, lost more than half of his lead after the race in Königssee. With nine overall World Cup wins under his belt so far, Dukurs fell back to eleventh place after a steering error and his closest opponent Alexander Gassner ended up winning the race. Instead of 149 points, Martins Dukurs now has just a 60-point lead ahead of the finale. However, Gassner will not be competing in Innsbruck; he will be training in Altenberg instead, where the BMW IBSF World Championships will be taking place one week later. As a result, Martins Dukurs, who is also not competing in Innsbruck, can no longer be denied his tenth overall World Cup victory. Even Tomass Dukurs, currently third in the overall standings, stands no chance of overtaking, trailing the leader by 230 points.
In the 2-woman bobsleigh, Austria’s Kathrin Beierl will be arriving at her home track in Innsbruck for the World Cup finale as the overall leader in the discipline. If she manages to finish in at least sixth place, she will become her country’s first female bobsleigh pilot to win the crystal trophy for the overall win, even if Kim Kalicki (GER, currently second overall) were to win the race. This goal looks possible for Katrin Beierl: at the last two World Cup races in Innsbruck in December 2020, she finished fourth and fifth. Theoretically, the overall title could also still go to Olympic Champion Mariama Jamanka (GER) in third place overall.
The women’s monobob world series will once again be on the agenda at the finale in Innsbruck. The race in Innsbruck in December was won by Breeana Walker (AUS), while the other two races in St. Moritz and Königssee in January were won by Kaillie Humphries of the USA.
In the 2-man bobsleigh and 4-man bobsleigh, Francesco Friedrich (GER) looks set to defend both of his titles. In Königssee, the Olympic and World Champion celebrated his 50th race win in the BMW IBSF World Cup. The only race that Friedrich did not won this season was the first 2-man bobsleigh World Cup race in Innsbruck in December 2020. Team-mate Johannes Lochner took the gold instead. Friedrich remains unbeaten in the 4-man bobsleigh so far this winter. World Cup host Austria’s hopes rest on Benjamin Maier, who is enjoying his best season so far having finished on the podium in two 2-man bobsleigh World Cup races and all three 4-man bobsleigh races. What’s more, the 26-year-old also won silver in the 4-man bobsleigh European Championships and is currently second overall behind Friedrich. ©RWH2021
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
Jennifer Onasanya (AUT) has officially become an Austrian citizen, as the 26-year-old announced on Facebook. This change in citizenship is one step towards the athlete being eligible to compete for her chosen country in the Olympics. Born in the Netherlands, Onasanya is the brakewoman on the team of Austrian pilot Katrin Beierl. Together, the pairing won European Championship bronze in 2019 and 2021 and also finished on the World Cup podium in Sigulda (LAT) in November. ©RWH2021
The Youth Olympic Champions Anastasiia Tsyganova (RUS) and Lukas Nydegger (GER) are the inaugural U20 World Champions in skeleton. The 2021 IBSF Junior World Championships in St. Moritz (SUI) saw titles and medals being awarded to athletes under the age of 20 for the first time. Anastasiia Tsyganova, aged 17, won U20 gold in the women’s skeleton ahead of Stefanie Votz (GER) and Jill Gander (SUI). In the men’s skeleton, the title went to 18-year-old Lukas Nydegger ahead of Silvio Summermatter (SUI) and Elvis Veinbergs (LAT) who finished in joint second to share silver. ©RWH2021
Matt Antoine (USA) and Joe Cecchini (ITA) are back in the BMW IBSF World Cup – though this time not as athletes but on the other side of the starting line as skeleton coaches. Matt Antoine, who won Olympic bronze at Sochi in 2014, is now a coach for team USA, while Joe Cecchini is working with athletes from Italy. ©RWH2021
Olympic Champion Lisa Buckwitz (GER) will be celebrating her debut as a pilot in the BMW IBSF World Cup at the final race in Innsbruck. The 26-year-old won Olympic gold as brakewoman to pilot Mariama Jamanka at PyeongChang 2018 and has since retrained herself as a bobsleigh pilot. Lisa Buckwitz celebrated her first victory in an international race at the Europe Cup in Innsbruck (AUT). She finished second at the 2021 Junior World Championships in St. Moritz. ©RWH2021
Michael Vogt (SUI) won gold in the 4-man bobsleigh at the 2021 IBSF Junior World Championships – becoming the first Swiss pilot to do so for 20 years. The last 4-man bobsleigh Junior World Champion to come from Switzerland was Reto Rüegg in 2001. The last Swiss athlete to win a junior world bobsleigh title was Sabina Hafner in the 2-woman bobsleigh in 2010. The 2008 Junior World Champion Fabienne Meyer has been director of sports at Swiss Sliding since 2020. ©RWH2021
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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