BOBSLED & SKELETON Preview: Will Friedrich stay perfect in Innsbruck?

Germany's Olympic champion driver Francesco Friedrich (Photo: Sandro Halank via Wikipedia)

Four down, four to go for a perfect season for Germany’s double Olympic gold medalist Francesco Friedrich in the two-man division, as the IBSF World Cup enters the second half of its season with racing in Innsbruck (AUT).

Friedrich has been the best driver on the circuit, winning all four of the two-man events, and using three different brakemen along the way! In the four-man races, have been 2-1-1-3, so it’s no wonder he’s in front in both events on the points table:

Men’s Two:
1. 900 Francesco Friedrich (GER)
2. 804 Oskars Kibermanis (LAT)
3. 744 Nico Walther (GER)
4. 704 Maxim Andrianov (RUS)
5. 600 Dominik Dvorak (CZE)

Men’s Four:
1. 860 Francesco Friedrich (GER)
2. 827 Johannes Lochner (GER)
3. 804 Oskars Kibermanis (LAT)
4. 793 Nico Walther (GER)
5. 736 Maxim Andrianov (RUS)

In the women’s division, Germany’s Mariama Jamanka has been the best so far, finishing 1-2-1-1 for a 124-point lead over teammate Stephanie Schneider. The leaders:

Women’s Two:
1. 885 Mariama Jamanka (GER)
2. 761 Stephanie Schneider (GER)
3. 744 Anna Kohler (GER)
4. 690 Nadezhda Sergeeva (RUS)
5. 688 Katrin Beierl (AUT)

The top American sled of Olympic silver medalist Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza stands seventh (610) after being disqualified in the first race of the season in Sigulda (LAT), then finishing 3-2-2 in their last three races.

The big news off the track came from an interview with U.S. tennis star Venus Williams last week in which she not only wants to play in a sixth Olympic Games Tokyo in 2020, but added “and 2024. And 2022 [Winter Games]. I’m going to be on the bobsleigh team. I love playing at the Olympics for sure.” Williams will be 40 at the time of the 2020 Games and 41 at the time of the Beijing Winter Games, but who’s counting?

The Skeleton World Cup will continue in Innsbruck after being snowed out in Konigssee last week. The leaders after three of seven stops on the tour:

Men’s Skeleton:
1. 642 Alexander Tretiakov (RUS)
2. 617 Nikita Tregubov (RUS)
3. 610 Sung-Bin Yun (KOR)
4. 554 Axel Jungk (GER)
5. 546 Martins Dukurs (LAT)

Women’s Skeleton:
1. 642 Elena Nikitina (RUS)
2. 619 Jacqueline Loelling (GER)
3. 602 Tina Herrmann (GER)
4. 536 Sophia Griebel (GER)
5. 528 Yulia Kanakina (RUS)

NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage from Innsbruck on Friday at 9 a.m. Eastern time (delayed) of the Skeleton races; delayed coverage on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern of bobsled and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern of more bobsled. NBCSN will have delayed coverage of the women’s bob runs at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Look for results here.