Innsbruck (RWH): With female bobsleigh pilots Katrin Beierl and Christina Hengster plus Benjamin Maier behind the steering ropes in the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh, the hosts of this year’s European Championships, Austria, have not one but three promising candidates for medals in the bobsleigh.
One athlete who is on a real roll this season is Katrin Beierl, who has won four out of five races in the European Cup. Making her season début at the BMW IBSF World Cup in Winterberg, the 24-year-old and her brakewoman Jennifer Onasanya achieved her best ever World Cup result in fifth. This result put her just five hundredths of a second behind Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries and one tenth of a second ahead of defending World Cup holder Jamie Greubel Poser.
Last season, her team mate Christina Hengster became Austria’s first female bobsleigh pilot to win a medal in the European Championships when she secured bronze in Winterberg. After crashing at the opening World Cup race in Lake Placid (USA), the 31-year-old athlete has so far finished tenth (Park City, USA), eighth (Whistler, CAN) and 14th (Winterberg, GER) this season.
In the 2-man and 4-man bobsleigh, fans at the track will look forward to watching pilot Benjamin Maier and his teams. Winning a European Championship medal in the 2-man bobsleigh would be a sensation for Austria, as its last top-three finish in the event was almost 45 years ago when Werner Delle Karth/Fritz Sperling finished third in Cervinia (ITA) in 1973.
The situation in the 4-man bobsleigh is a little different: Pilot Benjamin Maier and his squad won silver in St. Moritz (SUI) in 2016 and bronze in Winterberg (GER) in 2017. ©RWH2017
Photo: IBSF/Viesturs Lacis