New season, new insights into the IBSF world. Gary Anderson reports for Racer Ready

February 24 2017 Berchtesgaden - Konigssee, Germany. Action from the women's Skeleton; GBR - Laura Deas negotiates curve 14

This week sees the start of the Olympic qualifying process for both bobsleigh and skeleton with Round 1 of the BMW IBSF World Cup in Lake Placid. The track is situated in the Adirondack mountains on Mt. van Hoevenberg within the Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex, New York State, USA. This venue was host for the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

The first seven World Cup races (along with the 2nd tier level competitions) will determine world ranking which then will qualify nations with quota slots for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

All the reigning World Champions and overall World Cup winners will be on the start line when the BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup kicks off for the Olympic season. Francesco Friedrich (GER), World Champion and overall World Cup winner in the 2-man bobsleigh will be at looking to continue his fine form, along with his team mate Johannes Lochner, who shared first place with Friedrich in the 4-man bobsleigh at BMW IBSF World Championships in 2017.

The World Champions and defending World Cup winners in skeleton, Jacqueline Lölling of Germany and Martins Dukurs of Latvia, will also be in Lake Placid, along with the overall winner in the 4-man bobsleigh Alexander Kasjanov of Russia. At their home event, the US team will be led by the two leading female pilots World Champion Elana Meyers Taylor and the overall World Cup winner Jamie Greubel- Poser.

25.2.2017 Berchtesgaden – Konigssee, Germany. Action from the Women’s Skeleton Runs 4, GER – Jacqueline Loelling slides home to become the IBSF World Champion

Great Britain will field a strong contingent of athletes in this event including reigning Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold who is setting out on the challenge to be the first British athlete ever to defend a Winter Olympic title.

Athletes from a total of 22 countries are expected to be battling will it out in the opening World Cup races in North America over the next three weeks before the tour comes to Europe before Christmas.

The BMW IBSF World Cup race calendar

9 – 10 Nov 2017 Lake Placid (USA)
17 – 18 Nov 2017 Park City (USA)
24 – 25 Nov 2017 Whistler (CAN)
8 – 10 Dec 2017 Winterberg (GER)
15 – 17 Dec 2017 Igls (AUS)
5 – 7 Jan 2018 Altenberg (GER)
12 – 14 Jan 2018 St Moritz (SUI)
19 – 21 Jan 2018 Konigssee (GER)

Snippets from the “start-house”

Team USA race suits will bear the initials of the 2010 Olympic Champion, legend Steven Holcomb, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 37. Steven was a medallist in Sochi 2014 and was a member of the USA team for 20 years. “SH” will adorn the uniforms as a mark of respect for this true champion of the sport of bobsleigh.

China are set to compete in the skeleton World Cup for the first time, Wenqiang Geng who was ranked 4th in lasts season Intercontinental Cup has earned the right to take his place on the start line. China have commenced a very impressive development programme in sliding sports in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Winners of the 2016/17 corresponding World Cup race in Lake Placid were:
Austrian Janine Flock in Women’s Skeleton, Russian Alexander Tretiakov in the men’s event.
2-man Bobsleigh was won by Holcomb & McGuiffe of the USA and making it a USA double Greubel-Poser & Evans took the gold in the Women’s race. In the 4-man event the Swiss team of Peter, Van der Zijde, Friedli and Amrehein were victorious.

February 25th 2017, Berchtesgaden, Konigssee, Germany; Action from the men’s 4-man Bobsleigh Run 1; GER – Pilot Johannes Lochner, Matthias Kagerhuber, Joshua Bluhm and Christian Rasp negotiate curve 14

The Miracle on Ice – As well as many memorable races have occurred at the Mt. van Hoevenberg track probably the most famous sporting on- ice event ever, took place in Lake Placid. On Feb. 22, 1980, in the Ice Hockey arena, now known as the Herbs Brooks Arena, named after the legendary hockey coach, the United States stunned the mighty Soviet Union, and the world, to win 4-3 to reach the gold medal game of the Winter Olympics, which they also won. The game became known as the “Miracle on Ice”.


The schedule for the events in Lake Placid are as follows:

(All times are UK times)

Thurs 9 Nov
Women’s Skeleton 1.30pm
Women’s Bobsleigh 5.30pm
Men’s 2-man Bobsleigh 8.30pm

Fri 10 Nov
Men’s Skeleton 1.30pm
Men’s 4-man Bobsleigh 6pm

RacerReady will be reporting the results and views from the world cup races immediately the action finishes.

All pictures copyright of ©RacerReady ©MikeVarey@elite-pix
IBSF information ©RWH2017