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Olympic Museum hosts special exhibition of bobsleigh and skeleton items, Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis + IOC

Lausanne (RWH) During the 2022 annual congress of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF in Lausanne (SUI), the delegates and officials were able to visit a special exhibition of bobsleigh and skeleton items from sports history selected from the holdings of the Olympic Museum.

The items shown included

  • Bobsleigh suit similar to the one worn by Silvio GIOBELLINA (SUI) at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympic Winter Games.
  • Sarajevo 1984, "Swiss 1" bobsleigh of Silvio GIOBELLINA (SUI), Olympic bronze medallist in 4-man bobsleigh.
  • Helmet similar to the one worn by Silvio GIOBELLINA (SUI), Olympic bronze medalist in Sarajevo 1984.

The name Silvio Giobellina not only sounds good, but the Swiss also enjoys an excellent reputation in the sport of bobsleigh. At the Winter Olympics, the man from Lysin in the French-speaking part of Switzerland caused a stir at the award ceremonies in Sarajevo. His bronze medal was the only noble badge not won by pilots from the GDR or the USSR. The specialist in the large sled won World Championship gold in St. Moritz in 1982 and also secured the European Championship titles in the four-man bobsleigh in 1984 and 1985.Giobellina ended his career in 1988.

  • Lake Placid 1980, bobsleigh equipment belonging to Joseph (Sepp) BENZ (SUI), 2-man bobsleigh Olympic Champion and 4-man silver medallist.

Twelve times Sepp Benz competed in an Olympic or World Championship race, twelve times he stood on the podium afterwards. In 1980 he even became Olympic Champion in the 2-man bob with Erich Schärer on the steering ropes. Benz also celebrated all his other medal wins with Schärer as his pilot. Not surprisingly, the postal worker was known in Switzerland as the "brakeman of the nation". But Benz, who died in 2021, was not only successful as an athlete, but also as a coach and later as an official. In his home country, he rendered outstanding services to the sport of luge, even reaching the presidency of the world federation and is considered the "father" of sprint competitions in luge.

  • Calgary 1988, bobsleigh equipment worn by Albert de GRIMALDI (MON).

In the mid-1980s, Albert of Monaco, the sport-loving son of Prince Rainier, founded the "Fédération Monégasque de Bobsleigh, Luge et Skeleton" in the noble Dracula Club in St. Moritz. Klaus Kotter, tax consultant from Eggenfelden and in those days President of the World Federation, helped with the birth. As pilot of Monaco and president in personal union, Albert took part in five Olympic Games under his civil name Grimaldi. The 25th place in the 2-man bobsleigh in Calgary 1988 was his best result as an Olympic participant. At the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing (China), Rudy Rinaldi came sixth in the 2-man bobsleigh, narrowly missing out the first Olympic medal for Monaco.

  • PyeongChang 2018, skeleton suit worn by Akwasi FRIMPONG (GHA).

Akwasi Frimpong (GHA) represented Africa in the skeleton events at the PyeongChang Olympic Games as only the second winter Olympian from Ghana, finishing 30th. He started his sliding career as bobsleigh push athlete in 2012 representing the Netherlands before founding the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation-Ghana (BSF-Ghana) and switching to skeleton from 2016. In December 2021, Akwasi Frimpong celebrated his best ever IBSF result, finishing 5th at the Lake Placid (USA) North American Cup.

  • Beijing 2022, bobsleigh combination signed by Elana MEYERS-TAYLOR and Sylvia HOFFMAN (USA), bronze medallists in 2-woman bobsleigh.

At the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing (CHN), US bobsleigh pilot Elana Meyers Taylor and push athletes Sylvia Hoffman won the bronze medal in 2-woman bobsleigh. After silver in the first ever women’s monobob event, she thus became the first female bobsleigh pilot to win two medals at one games edition. Having medaled in every Olympic event she’s entered. Meyers Taylor is now the woman with most Winter Olympics bobsleigh medals: ahead of Beijing, she won bronze in Whistler (CAN) in 2010 as push athlete for Erin Pac as well as Silver 2014 (Sochi, RUS) and 2018 (PyeongChang, KOR). The 37-years-old also won two World Championships and two Overall World Cups.

  • Vancouver 2010, suit by Amy WILLIAMS (GBR), Olympic Champion in skeleton.

At the Olympic Winter Games 2010 in Vancouver (CAN), Amy Williams became the first British athlete to win gold in the sport of skeleton. Before becoming Olympic Champion, the now 39-year-old was World Championships silver medallist in 2009 and won three medals (two silver and one bronze) in Skeleton World Cup. After ending her career in 2012 due injury, her successor Lizzy Yarnold added two Olympic gold medals to British skeleton history – cheered by Amy Williams, who was ambassador for her national team at both 2014 and 2018 Games.

  • Calgary 1988, helmet used by Dudley STOKES (JAM), two-man and four-man bobsleigh.

The Jamaican bobsleigh team at the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games with push athlete Dudley Stokes went down to history due to their unique story on their way from the island in the caribbean to the bigges winter sports event. The 4-man team crashed in the fourth Olympic run and walked their sled over the finish line, a sporting spitir that even increased the love and enthusiasm of the fans. The true story inspired the 1993 movie ‘Cool Runnings’.

  • Nagano 1998, bobsleigh equipment used by Pierre LUEDERS (CAN)

Canadian bobsleigh pilot Pierre Lueders is 1998 Olympic Champion and two times World Champion (2004 and 2005) in 2-man bobsleigh. In 2006, he also won Olympic silver as well as six more World Championships medals. Following his career as athlete, Pierre Lueders worked as bobsleigh coach for the Olympic host nations in Sochi (RUS, 2014), PyeongChang (KOR, 2018) and Beijing (CHN, 2022).

  • Salt Lake City 2002, skeleton suit used by Wilfried SCHNEIDER (GER), signed

German skeleton pilot Willi Schneider, the 1998 World Champion and Overall World Cup winner, finished the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in ninth place. After his active career, Willi Schneider became coach of the Canadian national team and won three medals at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin with gold for Duff Gibson, silver for Jeff Pain as well as bronze for Mellisa Hollingsworth. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, his athlete Jon Montgomery won another gold. After Vancouver, Willi Schneider was able to work as a technical coach for the US skeleton team and celebrated the World Championship title for Katie Uhlander. In the 2012/13 season, ahread of the Sochi Winter Games, Schneider moved to Russia as head coach. At the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, he worked with the Chinese host team.

  • Turin 2006, bobsleigh suit of Valerie FLEMING (USA), silver medallist in two-man bobsleigh

Valerie Fleming started competing in bobsleigh in 2003 and just three years later won a silver medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino (ITA) with pilot Shauna Rohbock.  Together, the 2-woman bobsleigh team won several World Cup medals from 2006 to 2009 and World Championships bronze in 2005 and 2007. Later, Valerie Fleming, amongst others, served on the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation Board of Directors as an athlete representative and in the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation’s bobsleigh jury, for example at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis

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