IBSF athletes battle it out at the Utah Olympic Park in second World Cup event
Park City (RWH): The 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup’s second stop of the season is Park City (USA). The opening event in Whistler (CAN) featured some new faces, surprising winners and familiar names on the podium. Arriving at the Utah Olympic Park as the World Cup leaders are Marcus Wyatt (GBR, men’s skeleton), Hannah Neise (GER, women’s skeleton), Bianca Ribi (CAN, women’s monobob), Kim Kalicki (GER, 2-woman bobsleigh) and Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2- and 4-man bobsleigh).
New faces on the skeleton podium – Martins Dukurs holds onto the yellow bib
Both the women’s skeleton and men’s skeleton events in Whistler saw several athletes securing the first podium-finishes of their careers. Marcus Wyatt of the UK – winner in the men’s event – achieved his début win in a BMW IBSF World Cup race, and the same was true for Hannah Neise (GER). After already winning two Olympic medals (a silver at the Youth Winter Olympics in Lillehammer (NOR) in 2016 and gold at the Beijing Winter Olympics (CHN) in 2022), the 22-year-old has now celebrated her first ever World Cup victory. And with Marcus Wyatt’s win, the yellow bib worn by the World Cup leader remains with the athlete who took it off after the final World Cup race of last season: The finale in St. Moritz in January 2022 was Martins Dukurs of Latvia’s final World Cup race after more than 20 years in the sport; it ended with him winning his eleventh overall victory and twelfth European Championship title. Over the summer, the most successful male skeleton athlete in sporting history began a new role as a coach for Team GB, which celebrated one of the most successful World Cup weekends in its history in Whistler: As well as a gold medal and the top spot in the World Cup rankings for Marcus Wyatt, Matt Weston finished in third place while Brogan Crowley finished second in the women’s event.
Bianca Ribi is the first winner in the World Cup monobob event
Début World Cup appearance as a pilot – leading to a victory in the monobob’s inaugural appearance in the racing series: Canada’s Bianca Ribi started her first World Cup season as a bobsleigh pilot with a result for the sport’s history books. In front of a home crowd, the 26-year-old slid to a surprising gold medal at Whistler Sliding Centre, leaving many athletes in her wake, including World and Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries (USA) who finished third.
Francesco Friedrich has a score to settle in Park City
In a sporting career that has lasted over ten years, bobsleigh pilot Francesco Friedrich has won everything there is to win, securing multiple Olympic golds, World Championship titles, European Championship golds, and overall World Cup wins. However, his ever-decreasing list of missing wins includes a World Cup win in Park City: “I still have a score to settle on the track,” said Friedrich in an interview with the German Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skeleton Federation (BSD) after the 2-man bobsleigh race in Whistler. When looking at “Franz’s” statistics, however, there is one number 1 next to Park City: He won the Junior World Championship title in the 2-man bobsleigh here in 2011.
Team USA in the running for medals at their home World Cup in Park City
Team USA will be arriving for their first home World Cup race of the season in Park City with three medals under their belt. In the women’s skeleton, the youngest athlete in the field – 18-year-old Hallie Clarke – finished second in Whistler. Her team-mate Kaillie Humphries – the bronze medallist in the monobob and 2-woman bobsleigh in Whistler – competed in her first bobsleigh World Cup race in November 2004, when Hallie Clarke was just six months old. One thing both athletes have in common: They were both born in Canada and only recently have switched to compete for Team USA. They have also both won gold in Park City: Kaillie Humphries won the 2-woman bobsleigh World Cup races here in 2012 and 2016, while Hallie Clarke won the 2019 OMEGA Youth Series race at the age of 15. Over the past two years, US bobsleigh pilot Frank Del Duca has competed in ten races in Park City as part of the North American Cup, finishing on the podium on seven occasions. ©RWH2022
Schedule for the BMW IBSF World Cup in Park City
Subject to changes – Up-to-date times (local time at the track and the user’s local time) are listed on the IBSF website. ©RWH2022
On the sidelines
Nico Walther (GER), winner in the 4-man bobsleigh at the last BMW IBSF World Cup race in Park City (USA) in November 2017, retired from the sport after winning bronze in the 4-man event at the 2020 World Championships. The 2018 Olympic silver medallist in the 4-man bobsleigh is still a pilot – however, instead of steering a bobsled, he now controls cargo planes for the German logistics provider DHL. Nico Walther completed his pilot’s training in 2022, thereby making one of his childhood dreams come true – as he revealed in an interview with his new employer. The 32-year-old now flies all over the world in one of DHL’s Boeing 777s. There are a few similarities between his former and current means of transport: Both the German bobsleds and Nico Walther's Boeing feature a yellow and red colour scheme, are cylinder shaped and aerodynamic. And his relationship with his crew – his brakemen in the sled and his co-pilot and other team members on board the plane – is an important element in both jobs. However, Nico Walther did reveal one difference in his interview: “In the sled, you always get that kick of adrenaline, which you don’t really want on a plane.” ©RWH2022
Manteo Mitchell (USA), a brakeman for Frank Del Duca, has a unique sporting back story: At the Olympics in London, the 2012 4x400-metre World Champion ran the first leg in the relay heats and helped Team USA secure their place in the final and go on to win Olympic silver despite breaking his fibula while running in the heats. Now 35, he made his début as a brakeman in the bobsleigh in Park City in 2019, where he was a member of Nicole Vogt’s crew. Since then, the brakeman has celebrated countless podium finishes in the North American Cup, including some at the Utah Olympic Park. ©RWH2022
Overall standings in the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup
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