Monegasque duo misses first Olympic medal by only 56 hundredths
Beijing (RWH) While at the current 4-man Bobsleigh Olympic race at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games no team from Monaco is at the start line, the nation celebrated its best ever result earlier in 2-man bobsleigh. Prince Albert, of all people, missed out on his small country's greatest Olympic success. When Rudy Rinaldi steered his 2-man bobsleigh with push athete Boris Vain to sixth place, the founding President of the Monegasque Bobsleigh Federation was not on site in Yanqing Sliding Center.
Rinaldi, the third-placed athlete at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, was just 0.56 seconds short of bronze. It would have been the first ever Olympic medal for the Principality in history. The bronze medal, won by Julien Medecin in the 1924 architectural competition, does not count in the official statistics of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "We knew we could finish far ahead," said Rudy Rinaldi. "We and all of Monaco are happy."
Especially the Prince. For Albert, winning an Olympic medal would have been a childhood dream come true. In the mid-1980s, the sport-loving son of Prince Rainer, who was christened Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Rainier Grimaldi, founded the "Fédération Monégasque de Bobsleigh, Luge et Skeleton" in the noble Dracula Club in St.Moritz. Klaus Kotter, a tax consultant from Eggenfelden and president of the world federation in those days, helped to give birth.
As Monaco's pilot and president in personal union, Albert took part in five Olympic Games under his civil name Grimaldi. 25th place in the 2-man bobsleigh in Calgary 1988 was his best result as an Olympic participant.
His successor on the steering ropes did much better. Patrice Servelle came second in the 2-man bobsleigh in the 2010 World Cup in Calgary. The Monegasque was pushed by Lascelles Brown, a sprinter from Jamaica who, as brakeman with Pierre Lueders, won the World Cup title for Canada in 2005 and brought a Monegasque 2-man bob up to speed at that time.
Speaking of brakemen. Albert's former brakeman and 1992 and 1994 Olympian, David Tomatis, now serves as vice president of marketing and events at the IBSF, the world governing body. Albert has been an IOC member since 1985.
Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis