After two World Championships, Altenberg hosts first World Cup event since 2019
Altenberg (RWH): European Champion Elena Nikitina (RUS, women’s skeleton), World Champion Christopher Grotheer (GER, men’s skeleton), European Champion Laura Nolte (GER, 2-woman bobsleigh) and Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh) will arrive at the BMW IBSF World Cup event in Altenberg (GER) as overall leaders. Elana Meyers Taylor (USA) won the first two races in the women’s monobob world series. The third World Cup event of the Olympic season marks the first time that the venue has hosted this event since January 2019: In 2020 and 2021, Altenberg was the host of the BMW IBSF World Championships.
Skeleton athletes delivered some big surprises during the first two races of the BMW IBSF World Cup season: Kim Meylemans of Belgium and Valentina Margaglio of Italy received one bronze medal each in the women’s skeleton, celebrating both of their countries’ first podium finishes in skeleton. And both athletes managed to leave the entire world’s elite in their wake by taking the best time in one heat. At the second World Cup race in Innsbruck, skeleton athletes captured the attention of sports fans around the world with a historic result in the men’s skeleton: With World Champion Christopher Grotheer (GER), Wenqiang Geng of China, and the UK’s Matt Weston not one but three athletes topped the podium, all three recording the exact same time right down to the nearest hundredth of a second – a never-before-seen feat. As the first World Cup winner from the host team of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Wenqiang Geng went down in sports history.
At the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, female bobsleigh pilots have a shot at two medals for the first time when the women’s monobob makes its premiere appearance on the Olympic programme. In the 2021/2022 winter season, the world series in this discipline is appearing in all IBSF racing series – the European Cup, North American Cup and BMW IBSF World Cup. The first two World Cup races in Innsbruck were won by US pilot Elana Meyers Taylor. In the 2-woman bobsleigh, European and Junior World Champion Laura Nolte (GER) held the lead in both races.
In the men’s events, the Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich continued his run of success, and will arrive in Altenberg with two golds in both the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh. A total of four other teams have made it onto the BMW IBSF World Cup podium so far: Brad Hall (GBR), Johannes Lochner (GER), Oskars Kibermanis (LAT) and Justin Kripps (CAN).
The last World Cup winners and World Champions in Altenberg
The last World Cup winners in Altenberg from January 2019 are still among the favourites to win when the BMW IBSF World Cup 2021/2022 makes its third stop of the Olympic season at the track in the Saxon Ore Mountains. Back then, Elena Nikitina and Alexander Tretiakov (both RUS) won the skeleton races, Mariama Jamanka won the 2-woman bobsleigh and Francesco Friedrich won the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh. Three years ago, the women’s monobob had yet to be added to the agenda for the World Cup weekend. Arriving at the event as World Champions from Altenberg 2021 are Tina Hermann (GER, women’s skeleton), Christopher Grotheer (GER, men’s skeleton), Kaillie Humphries (USA, 2-woman bobsleigh and women’s monobob) and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh). ©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. ©RWH2021
On the sidelines
As skeleton athletes, Anja Huber (GER), Katie Uhlaender (USA) and Kerstin Szymkowiak (GER) first stood on the World Championship podium in Altenberg together in 2008: Back then, Huber won gold, Uhlaender won silver and Szymkowiak won bronze. Almost 14 years later, the three women met again at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck albeit in different roles. While Katie Uhlaender is still competing as an athlete, the 2008 World Champion Anja Huber is now a member of the German coaching team. In Innsbruck, Kerstin Szymkowiak was a member of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s racing jury. ©RWH2021
Benjamin Maier (AUT) has named his bobsled for the Olympic season “Sisi” in honour of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth (1837–1898). A famous godfather for the sled attended the opening weekend to the 2021/2022 BMW IBSF World Cup in Innsbruck (AUT), His Royal Highness Prince Leopold of Bavaria. “Empress Elisabeth of Austria was my great-great aunt,” said Prince Leopold in a report by the Austrian Bobsleigh Federation. “We traditionally have a close relationship with Austria and the House of Habsburg. His choice of name is an homage to the beloved empress.” The self-confessed bobsleigh fan and the Royal Bobsleigh Automobile Club, which was set up by the prince himself, are supporting Benjamin Maier on his journey to the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing in February. ©RWH2021
Elana Meyers Taylor (USA) followed in the tracks of the legendary Eugenio Monti at the BMW IBSF World Cup event in Innsbruck. At the 1964 Winter Olympics, which also took place in Innsbruck, the Italian bobsleigh pilot showcased his incredible sportsmanship, having his mechanic repair the 4-man sled belonging to Victor Emery (CAN) while he replaced a broken bolt in the 2-man sled piloted by Robin Nash (GBR). Emery and Nash went on to become Olympic Champions while Monti finished third in both events. He was later awarded the Pierre-de-Coubertin medal for his sportsmanship. Elana Meyers Taylor also exhibited the same sense of fair play towards Cynthia Appiah (CAN) in the women’s monobob world series. “I had issues with my sled after run one and Elana came to the rescue to help a fellow competitor. Thank you and congratulations Elana from the bottom of my heart!” wrote the Canadian on Twitter after the race. Meyers Taylor went on to win the race. Cynthia Appiah finished fifth. ©RWH2021
World Cup press conferences online via Zoom
Altenberg (RWH) Uta Schirmer, press officer of the bobsleigh track in Altenberg, invites to two Zoom press conferences with athletes and coaches of the German team ahead of the BMW IBSF World Cup.
Bobsleigh, Wednesday, December 1, 12 p.m. CET
Meeting ID: 896 1930 2118 // Identification code: 824430
Skeleton, Thursday, December 2, 12 p.m. CET
Meeting ID: 858 6116 6796 // Passcode: 669441
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
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