Latvian track will see overall titles awarded in five disciplines
Sigulda (RWH): Bobsleigh and skeleton fans in Sigulda (LAT) can look forward to overall World Cup winners being crowned in five disciplines when IBSF athletes compete in their final race of the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup season on the track to the east of the capital Riga. Bobsleigh and skeleton events on the sliding track, which opened in 1986, traditionally attract thousands of spectators, meaning that athletes can look forward to an impressive backdrop and exciting atmosphere as they battle it out for the final World Cup points.
Skeleton athletes will open the final weekend of action. In the men’s skeleton, the Olympic Champion Christopher Grotheer (GER) has a relatively comfortable lead. He will go into the final race with a 76-point lead over World and European Champion, Matt Weston of the UK. If the Brit manages to secure his fifth win of the season in Sigulda, a ninth-place finish for Christopher Grotheer would be enough for him to lift his first ever crystal trophy for an overall win in the BMW IBSF World Cup. In Sigulda, there will be three contenders for third place in the men’s skeleton: the Olympic silver medallist Axel Jungk (GER), Marcus Wyatt of the UK and the World Championship bronze medallist Seunggi Jung (KOR). Just one point separates Jungk and Wyatt in third and fourth place – so, if one manages to finish ahead of the other in Sigulda, he will secure himself a spot on the overall World Cup podium. But: Seunggi Jung, who is twelve points behind third place, could mathematically leave both competitors from Germany and Great Britain behind him.
In the women’s skeleton, the four-time World Champion and 2023 European Champion Tina Hermann (GER) is leading the field ahead of the final in Sigulda. She has a 27-point lead over the World Championship silver medallist Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands. Theoretically, Hermann would therefore have to finish in at least third place to take the overall title if defending World Cup title holder Bos were to win the final race. Other athletes still in with a chance to finish on the overall BMW IBSF World Cup podium are World Championship bronze medallist Mirela Rahneva (CAN) and World Champion Susanne Kreher (GER), who are currently in third and fourth place.
In the women’s monobob, the Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries (USA) is in the lead ahead of the last of eight races in the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup. World Champion Laura Nolte (GER) follows in second place, 73 points behind Humphries. Canada’s Cynthia Appiah is a good 100 points behind in third place before the final. In the 2-woman bobsleigh, the Olympic Champion Laura Nolte (GER) is the overall leader ahead of the finale. With her victory at the penultimate race in Innsbruck (AUT), Nolte managed to overtake World Champion Kim Kalicki (GER). Her current lead? 10 points. Every place and point will therefore count for the two team-mates at the final race in Sigulda. Almost 40 points behind in third place is the two-time Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries (USA).
The pilots in the 2-man bobsleigh are facing races number seven and eight at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Sigulda. Arriving in Latvia as the favourite is World and European Champion Johannes Lochner. After his four recent successive World Cup wins, Lochner has a 56-point lead over his team-mate, the Olympic Champion Francesco Friedrich. Prior to the final two World Cup races of the season, Brad Hall (GBR) is third in the overall standings, trailing Friedrich by 30 points and Lochner by 86. So, the race for the overall title isn’t over yet: A win in the BMW IBSF World Cup is worth 225 points.
The BMW IBSF World Cup title has already been awarded in the 4-man bobsleigh after the final two races of the season in Innsbruck (AUT). World Champion Francesco Friedrich won his fifth successive title. In second place, European Champion Brad Hall (GBR) celebrated the first podium finish for a British squad in the overall 4-man bobsleigh World Cup. Johannes Lochner finished third. ©RWH2023
Schedule for the BMW IBSF World Cup– Finale in Sigulda
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
Janine Flock (AUT), runner-up at the 2023 European Championships, has been forced to miss the finale to the 2022/2023 BMW IBSF World Cup in Sigulda, ending her season early. The overall winner of the 2015 and 2021 World Cups announced that she suffered a foot injury at the BMW IBSF World Cup race on her home track in Innsbruck (AUT). “I have been diagnosed with a hairline fracture, bruising and large haematoma on my left foot,” Janine Flock wrote in a press release after her diagnosis at Hochrum Hospital. ©RWH2023
David Baechler (FRA) celebrated his debut as a pilot at the BMW IBSF World Cup race in Innsbruck (AUT) – just a few days before his 50th birthday. After the 4-man bobsleigh race that closed the 2023 BMW IBSF World Championships in St Moritz (SUI), his team-mate Romain Heinrich announced his retirement from competitive sport. So, David Baechler took France’s World Cup spot for the 4-man bobsleigh World Cup races in Innsbruck. The French athlete has already competed in one World Cup race – over ten years ago, in December 2012, he was a brakeman on Thibault Godefroy’s 4-man team in La Plagne (FRA). The Baechler crew finished in 19th at the World Cup in Innsbruck. ©RWH2023
At the age of 37, Kaillie Humphries (USA), by far the most experienced pilot in the field, still has new sporting terrain left to explore, including at the finale to the BMW IBSF World Cup in Sigulda. In her 18 years of competing in international bobsleigh events, the two-time Olympic Champion and five-time World Champion has never raced on the track in Latvia. The World Cup finale in Sigulda will also be a first for Cynthia Appiah (CAN), who is currently third overall in the monobob. Laura Nolte has only competed in one race in Sigulda to date: She won the 2-woman bobsleigh race there in 2020. In 2020, Kim Kalicki (GER) finished in second and third in the 2-woman bobsleigh at the World Cup races on the track, which features a distinctive five-storey-high starting building. ©RWH2023