Dress rehearsal for the 2024 Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Championships
Winterberg (RWH): The 2023 World Cup year will get underway when athletes from the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) take to the Winterberg bobsleigh track. The fourth BMW IBSF World Cup event of the post-Olympic season will also be a dress rehearsal for the World Championships with Winterberg scheduled to host the 2024 BMW Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Championships.
In the women’s skeleton, athletes including Austria’s Janine Flock are looking forward to making their season début. The overall winner of the 2015 and 2021 World Cups had to undergo surgery after suffering acute problems with a slipped disc in September 2022. Having successfully finished her physio treatment, the three-time European Champion is now keen to qualify for the 2023 BMW IBSF World Championships in St. Moritz, which will take place in the second half of the season. The defending World Cup title holder Kimberley Bos celebrated her first and only World Cup victories to date in Winterberg in December 2021 and January 2022. The bronze medallist from the 2022 Beijing Olympics has yet to finish on the podium in the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup season and will arrive in Winterberg ranked fifth in the overall standings. Home fans at the track can look forward to seeing athletes including local hero, the Olympic Champion Hannah Neise, the overall leader in the World Cup and current World Champion Tina Hermann, and Susanne Kreher. The Junior World Champion finished second in Lake Placid (USA) to secure her first World Cup medal. The men’s skeleton World Cup looks set to deliver some exciting action. The three World Cup races so far this season have all seen different athletes top the podium: Marcus Wyatt (GBR), Olympic and World Champion Christopher Grotheer (GER) and Matt Weston (GBR). Arriving in Winterberg in the yellow jersey worn by the World Cup leader is Korea’s Seunggi Jung, who has finished on the podium in all three World Cup races this winter.
In the women’s bobsleigh events, the Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries (women’s monobob in 2022, 2-woman bobsleigh in 2010 and 2014) has been locked in a head-to-head battle with Germany’s pilots at the top of the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup standings. In the monobob event, the US pilot is currently ahead of Laura Nolte (GER), who celebrated her first win in the women’s solo discipline in Lake Placid (USA). However, the overall leader in the 2-woman bobsleigh ahead of the race in Winterberg is European Champion Kim Kalicki (GER), who won the races in Whistler (CAN) and Park City (USA). World Champion Kaillie Humphries, who won gold in Lake Placid, is currently second overall. Two athletes will be celebrating their début World Cup appearances as pilots in Winterberg: the Youth Olympic and European Champion Georgeta Popescu of Romania and Belgium’s Kelly van Petegem.
Competing in their first home World Cup races of the season, the teams from Germany are clear favourites in the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh. Number-one favourite in both disciplines is the Olympic and World Champion Francesco Friedrich, who is also leading both standings in the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup after two wins in each event. Lake Placid is the only track where two other teams managed to secure gold: In the 2-man bobsleigh, Johannes Lochner (GER) celebrated his first win in the discipline since 2020. And in the 4-man bobsleigh, Brad Hall (GBR) secured his first ever victory, making him the first British athlete to win a World Cup race in the 4-man event since Lamin Deen in November 2017. A total of 21 bobsleigh teams from 13 countries are registered to compete in the BMW IBSF World Cup event in Winterberg. ©RWH2023
Schedule for the BMW IBSF World Cup in Winterberg
Subject to changes – Up-to-date times (local time at the track and the user’s local time) are listed on the IBSF website. ©RWH2023
On the sidelines
Jaclyn Narracott (AUS) and Kimberley Bos (NED) surprised the field by winning silver and bronze at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and also took home gold and silver at the 2022 World Cup finals. With their sights now set on Milano-Cortina 2026, the two skeleton athletes have become team-mates for the 2022/2023 season. Their coaching team is made up of Joska le Conté (NED) – herself a former skeleton athlete and coach for the IBSF Development Team, the Netherlands and Switzerland – and Britain’s Kristan Bromley, the 2008 Skeleton World Champion. In the current BMW IBSF World Cup season, two fifth-place finishes are the best results for European Champion and defending World Cup holder Kimberley Bos. Jaclyn Narracott finished fourth in Lake Placid. ©RWH2023
The BMW IBSF World Cup race in Winterberg will be Hannah Neise’s (GER) first appearance in front of family and friends at her local track since becoming Olympic Champion. In February 2022, Hannah Neise – the youngest member of her team – surprised the field to become Germany’s first female skeleton athlete to win Olympic gold. Since the discipline was introduced in 2002, only one Olympic Champion has been younger: the winner of first ever women’s Olympic skeleton race, US pilot Tristan Gale, who won at the age of 21 years, six months and ten days. Hannah Neise was a whole two months older on the day of her Olympic victory. ©RWH2023
Jekabs Kalenda (LAT) and Martin Kranz (LIE) will celebrate their début in the BMW IBSF World Cup in Winterberg. The 20-year-old Latvian Kalenda finished fourth in the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2022 U23 World Championships. Martin Kranz, who is also 20, is Liechtenstein's first bobsleigh pilot to compete in the World Cup in around ten years; he finished fourth in the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2021 U23 World Championships. ©RWH2023