Lochner wins silver ahead of European Champion Kibermanis with bronze
Altenberg (RWH) Francesco Friedrich of Germany has become the first ever bobsleigh pilot to win six successive golds in the 2-man bobsleigh World Championships since the event began in 1931. At the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships in Altenberg (GER), the Olympic Champion and his brakeman Thorsten Margis were in a league of their own right from the start of the race. After four runs, the pair had a 1.65-second lead over their team-mates Johannes Lochner/Christopher Weber (GER), who won World Championship silver. The European Champions Oskars Kibermanis/Matiss Miknis of Latvia fought their way up to bronze position in the very last heat.
With six titles in succession, Francesco Friedrich is now the sole record-holder for this category. He previously shared the record of five back-to-back titles with Eugenio Monti (ITA, 1957–1961). However, Eugenio Monti still has the edge when it comes to total titles: The Italian athlete was the 2-man bobsleigh World Champion eight times between 1957 and 1968.
Nico Walther/Eric Franke (GER), second before the final heat, fell down the rankings and finished in fourth place. The Junior World Champions Richard Oelsner/Malte Schwenzfeier (GER) finished the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships in fifth place ahead of Austria’s Benjamin Maier/Markus Sammer. Both Oelsner and Maier therefore achieved their best World Championship result for the 2-man bobsleigh. ©RWH2020
Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2018 Olympic Champion, six-time World Champion)
“We have spent two and a half years working towards this moment. This is our redemption. Crazy, we made it! To have got the record is really incredible. Especially to do it here in Altenberg with all our fans and friends.”
Johannes Lochner (GER, runner-up in the 2020 World Championships, runner-up in the 2019 European Championships)
“That was a tough season for us and I’m just happy! Losing to Franz is not something to be embarrassed about, he races in a league of his own. I’m so happy with silver.”
Oskars Kibermanis (LAT, World Championship bronze medallist, European Champion and runner-up in the overall World Cup in 2020)
“That was a pretty big job to get into the medals over the four runs. I am really happy now; I wasn’t yesterday after the second run. However, I never stopped believing that we could get a medal. Gold was never in my sights; Francesco is just too strong, but the fight for silver and bronze was really good and in front of an amazing backdrop.”
Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis