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Innsbruck (RWH): With Elena Nikitina (RUS, women’s skeleton), Alexander Tretiakov (RUS, men’s skeleton), Elana Meyers Taylor (USA, women’s monobob), Laura Nolte (GER, 2-woman bobsleigh), and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh), the list of winners from the opening to the BMW IBSF World Cup season in Innsbruck (AUT) was full of familiar names. And athletes will be staying at the Olympic sliding track for this winter’s second World Cup event.
Kim Meylemans of Belgium delivered a big surprise in the women’s skeleton. In the first World Cup heat of the winter, the 25-year-old left the entire field in her wake. She then went on to finish third, but definitely did not feel as though she had lost out: She shed tears of joy on her way to the finish line, during the medal ceremony and during her interview after securing her first podium finish – the first for Belgium in the history of the World Cup.
In the men’s skeleton, two of the most experienced athletes in the line-up led the field during the World Cup opener: Some of the younger athletes in the event were only just born when winner Alexander Tretiakov and silver medallist Martins Dukurs of Latvia began competing: This year marks World Cup season number 17 for both athletes; the youngest athletes competing in Innsbruck, who include Korea’s Seunggi Jung and local hero Samuel Maier, are just 22.
At the 2021/2022 BMW IBSF World Cup, the female bobsleigh pilots will always compete twice every weekend: once in the 2-woman bobsleigh and once in the monobob. While the 2-woman event will be appearing on the Olympic agenda for the sixth time at the 2022 Beijing Games, the women’s monobob will be celebrating its Olympic début 20 years after the first Winter Games open to female bobsleigh athletes (Park City 2002). At the opener to the 2021/2022 winter season, Elana Meyers Taylor (USA) celebrated her first ever victory in the women’s monobob world series, while European Champion Laura Nolte won the 2-woman event. In the men’s events, the Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich continued his seasons-long run of success, winning gold in both the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh. Joining him on the podium both times were his team-mate Johannes Lochner (GER) and Brad Hall (GBR), who finished second and third respectively in the 2-man event before tying for silver in the 4-man race.
The return of Olympic hosts China
After the Chinese bobsleigh and skeleton team decided not to travel to compete in the IBSF races last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympic hosts are back racing in all series and disciplines in the 2021/2022 season. The best result at the BMW IBSF World Cup event in Innsbruck went to Wenqiang Geng, who finished 12th in the men’s skeleton.
Points for the rankings, qualifying spots for the national teams
Like all the other racing series for the Olympic disciplines, the points from the BMW IBSF World Cup count towards Olympic qualification. The starting spots for the Winter Games will be awarded to the respective national Olympic committees following the deadline on 16 January 2022 based on the qualification system for bobsleigh and skeleton. In many teams, athletes also have to meet the NOC criteria for participation in the Winter Games during their World Cup races. “Three top-eight finishes or two top-three finishes” is the rule for athletes from the German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation, for example. ©RWH2021
The opening World Cup event in Innsbruck
Subject to changes – Up-to-date times (local time at the track and the user’s local time) are listed on the IBSF website. ©RWH2021
On the sidelines
Karlien Sleper (NED) already fulfilled her nation's qualification criteria for competing in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games at the season opener. This was confirmed on Twitter by Bob en Slee Bold Nederland (BSBN). The Dutch National Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF) requires athletes to finish in the top twelve in one of the eight BMW IBSF World Cup races – Karlien Sleper finished 10th on her World Cup debut in the women’s monobob world series. ©RWH2021
For bobsleigh push athlete Alexander Rödiger (GER), the journey to his fourth Olympics could be over before it has even started. As the 35-year-old announced on Facebook, he tore a tendon in his biceps while unloading the sleds ahead of the BMW IBSF World Cup event in Innsbruck. Over the summer, the 4-man bobsleigh specialist Rödiger announced that he would be switching to Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich’s team. At the IBSF race on the new Olympic track for the Winter Games in Beijing, he pushed Friedrich to victory in the 2-man bobsleigh. When racing with pilot Maximilian Arndt, Alexander Rödiger won World Championship gold twice in the 4-man bobsleigh, once in St. Moritz in 2013 and once in Winterberg in 2015. At Vancouver 2010 and PyeongChang 2018, he won Olympic silver racing with André Lange and Nico Walther respectively. ©RWH2021
Alexandra Burghardt (GER) will be pushing the 2-woman bobsled for Olympic Champion Mariama Jamanka for the first time at the second event in Innsbruck for the BMW IBSF World Cup 2021/2022. In 2021, the 27-year-old recorded the best 100-metre time for a German woman at 11.01 seconds and secured a space in the semi-finals of the sprint relay at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At the World Cup opener, Jamanka and her brakewoman Kira Lipperheide finished in fourth in the 2-woman bobsleigh. “The prospect of competing in two Olympics in such a short space of time is very appealing. I’ve got my first runs under my belt and I know that it’s a realistic goal,” said Alexandra Burghardt in an article on leichtathletik.de. ©RWH2021
This season’s winners in the 2021/2022 BMW IBSF World Cup – Skeleton
This season’s winners in the 2021/2022 BMW IBSF World Cup – Women's bobsleigh
This season’s winners in the 2021/2022 BMW IBSF World Cup – Men's bobsleigh
>> Athlete profiles on ibsf.org with medals tables, news and photos for all athletes
>> All results from IBSF races and training sessions
>> 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: