Lochner/Bauer win silver at Beijing Winter Games, Hafer/Sommer with bronze
Yanqing (RWH) Bobsleigh pilot Francesco Friedrich (GER) won his second Olympic gold in the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. At the Yanqing Sliding Center, Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis, who had already pushed the sled to Olympic victory in 2018, started the final day with a narrow lead from the first two races. In the third of the four runs, the seven-time World Champion set a track record (58.99 seconds) and thus became the first pilot to stay below 59 seconds on the 1615-metre track.
In the end, Friedrich/Margis were 0.49 seconds ahead of their teammates Johannes Lochner/Florian Bauer (GER). Lochner, World Championships runner-up in 2015, 2016, 2020 and 2021, won his first medal at Winter Games with Olympic silver.
There was a very close race for third place in all four Olympic race runs with the teams in third to seventh place, who went into the last run within a margin of two tenths of a second. In the end, the third German duo came out on top: Christoph Hafer/Matthias Sommer (GER, 1.69 seconds behind) won Olympic bronze. It had never happened before in bobsleigh that athletes from one nation won all Olympic medals in one of the disciplines.
Michael Vogt/Sandro Michel (SUI) finished fourth ahead of Benjamin Maier/Markus Sammer (AUT) and the surprisingly strong Monegasques Rudy Rinaldi/Boris Vain.
Sun Kaizhi/Wu Qingze of Olympic hosts China finished 14th at their Olympic debut on their home track, while their teammates Li Chunjian/Liu Wei were 22nd. ©RWH2022
Francesco Friedrich (GER, 2018 and 2022 Olympic Champion, seven-time World Champion).
"It's been a crazy two weeks here in Beijing and it felt good to finally start competing. In the third run today we really wanted to make a mark and go under 59 seconds - that was already a great feeling to get to the finish and have done that. The medal is very special - but tomorrow it's straight back to training for the 4-man bob."
Johannes Lochner (GER, Olympic silver 2022, four times World Championships silver)
"This is unbelievable. We put so much work into it. We actually wanted to attack again in the third run, but unfortunately we didn't succeed. When Franz is under pressure, he just turns up. He absolutely deserves gold."
Christoph Hafer (GER, Olympic bronze 2022, European Championships bronze 2020)
"Completely crazy and unbelievable. This is also a medal for our whole team. We were very nervous before the last run, but this is actually good for us. The gap to the front is big, but we showed that we can keep up."
Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis