Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis

Marina Gilardoni wins silver for Switzerland ahead of Janine Flock with bronze

Altenberg (RWH) With a track record in the final heat and the best time for the whole competition, Tina Hermann (GER) has become the record-breaking World Champion for the women’s skeleton. At the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships in Altenberg (GER), the 27-year-old secured her third World Championship title after 2016 and 2019. This marks the first time that a female skeleton athlete has achieved this feat. The previous record holder for the World Championships was Maya Pedersen-Bieri (SUI, two golds, one silver).

And there was drama aplenty on the final day of racing: Switzerland’s Marina Gilardoni had a clear lead throughout the first three runs. Tina Hermann began the fourth and final run as the penultimate starter in second place. Setting a new track record (57.77 seconds), the overall winner of the 2016 World Cup achieved an almost perfect run. As the final athlete to start, Marina Gilardoni then lost her lead with a minor mistake and crossed the finish line with the second-best time overall and 0.22 seconds behind Hermann - who was waiting in the leaders box and could hardly believe her luck. 

After winning European Championship silver, the Swiss athlete has now also won her first ever medal in the skeleton World Championships. Coincidentally, the last Swiss athlete to win a World Championship medal in the women’s skeleton was Maya Pedersen-Bieri who also won silver at the 2007 event in St. Moritz (SUI).

World Championship bronze in Altenberg went to Janine Flock (AUT, 1.21 seconds back). The 2016 and 2019 European Champion thus won her second World Championship medal after winning silver in Innsbruck in 2016.

The overall winner of the World Cup Jacqueline Lölling (GER, 1.39 seconds back) only just missed out on the medals in fourth. The European Champion Elena Nikitina (RUS, 1.50 seconds back) holds the new starting record for Altenberg (5.26 seconds) and finished the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships in fifth place ahead of Sophia Griebel (GER). ©RWH2020

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Tina Hermann (GER, 2016, 2019 and 2020 World Champion, overall winner of the 2016 World Cup)

“It's just so crazy, I don't know what to say. I was annoyed that I hadn't managed to get in a perfect run earlier. But I knew: I can get a track record here. Before the final heat, I said to myself ‘Now is the time, you can do it.’ In the leader’s box, I had to get everything out, all that tension.”

Marina Gilardoni (SUI, runner-up in the 2020 World Championships and runner-up in the 2020 European Championships)

“I definitely won the silver; I didn't lose gold. I am super pleased with my runs and the medal. Unfortunately, my fourth run was not as good as the others. The mistake opened up the door for Tina to climb up. And it's always difficult to race against a track record.” 

Janine Flock (AUT, bronze at the 2020 World Championships, 2016 and 2019 European Champion)

“There was a mistake in my second run yesterday but I was able to compensate for that today. However, I made another stupid mistake in the Kreisel in the final heat today. It wasn't my goal at all to get a medal here so, of course, I am more than happy that I was able to fight my way up from fourth place.”

Photos: IBSF / Viestursd Lacis

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