For a nation without any tracks, Great Britain has always done surprisingly well in bobsleigh and skeleton events. Amy Williams won gold at the 2010 Olympics in skeleton, with Lizzy Yarnold emulating her achievements in Sochi four years later. The Russian city was meant to host this year’s World Championships, but the doping scandal that has enveloped Russian sports over the last year led to some countries potentially boycotting the championships. Because of this, the decision was taken to move the championships to Koenigssee in Germany.
The women’s bobsleigh was the first event to be contested, with the British duo of Mica McNeill and Mica Moore hoping to build on their World Junior victory in January. They looked to be in a good position after the first run, setting a time of 51.84 seconds to put them in seventh place. Unfortunately, they failed to take advantage of more favourable conditions during later runs, and dropped down to sixteenth place, with the American pairing of Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones winning their first gold medal since becoming a team.
In the two-man bob event, Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis had been the team to beat over the last few years, winning the 2015 and 2016 World Championships for Germany. Therefore, it was no surprise when they were fastest in all four of their runs, winning the title by 1.2 seconds from Canada, with Germany’s second team completing the podium. Britain’s Bruce Tasker managed to finish fourth in 2016 alongside Joel Fearon, but they couldn’t replicate the performance this time around, finishing the event in ninth, with the other British pairing coming home in twenty-eighth position.
Lizzy Yarnold will be hoping she can regain her world crown this weekend, after she took a break throughout the 2016 season. She finished tenth overall in the World Cup, held in January, and will be hoping to rediscover the form that earnt her two top-five finishes earlier in the season. Another British hope for gold in this event is Laura Deas, with the 28 year old finishing seventh in the world cup standings. The German fans will be hoping for another victory on home ice in this event, with Jacqueline Loelling leading the world rankings, and reigning champion Tina Hermann also looking in good form. In the men’s event, Britain’s Dominic Parsons will be hoping to better his ninth place finish from last year.
Unfortunately for fans of Cool Runnings, there’s no Jamaican team this time around, but there is another unlikely contender in the four-man event. The Brazilian team spent some of the off season training in North Yorkshire, with former Olympic decathlete Edson Bindilatti leading the team. The team finished 24th in last year’s event, beating competitors from more established nations such as Poland, Serbia and the Czech Republic. They’re coached by former British world champion Nicola Minichiello, and will be hoping to gain extra experience ahead of the Olympics next year in Pyeongchang. After a year where Leicester won the Premier League, and Lincoln reached the FA Cup quarter finals, a Brazilian bobsleigh victory would surely be one sporting shock too far.
Featured Image: University of Bath