Scintillating bobsleigh silver helps Hall build Olympic momentum

Brad Hall believes the momentum is starting to build ahead of the Olympic Winter Games after securing a scintillating silver medal at the two-man bobsleigh World Cup in Sigulda.

Hall, accompanied by brakeman Greg Cackett, laid down a brilliant first run of 49.64s to lead the way and set off last for the second run.

Second time down the Latvian ice, Russia’s Rostislav Gaitiukevich/Mikhail Mordasov clocked 49.58s for a total time of 1:39.23 and although Hall grew into the run, he couldn’t better Gaitiukevich, finishing 0.10s behind his rival.

It was more than good enough for a second two-man World Cup silver medal of his career however - following the same result in Innsbruck in January 2020 - as he pushed Austria’s Benjamin Maier/Markus Sammer into bronze by 0.07s.

And with Beijing 2022 now just a little over a month away, everything appears to be coming together nicely for the British sled.

“It’s a great way to start the year,” said Hall. “2021 was a big year for us but we want 2022 to be even bigger.

“We would have loved to win gold as we were so close but another silver is a really good result for us. It keeps the momentum going and it’s another boost ahead of Beijing.

“We had two strong pushes and the drives were the first and second-best in each run so we know we’re in a good place.”

The race in Sigulda was also notable as reigning Olympic champion and 12-time world champion Francesco Friedrich – who won every two-man and four-man race he entered throughout the whole of 2020 – finished down in 12th.

It proved that the German was beatable and gave the likes of Hall genuine belief that he could climb the Olympic podium in China next month.

“We’re at the business end of the season now and it’s all about knowing we can get to the Olympics with a realistic chance of coming home with a medal,” he added.

It was Hall and Cackett’s third two-man podium finish of the season after bronze in Innsbruck in November and silver at the Olympic test event in Beijing before that, while they have also won two silver medals in the four-man World Cup.

They also came agonisingly close to becoming the first British team to win two-man World Cup gold since Nick Phipps and Alan Cearns, who claimed top spot in Cortina in December 1985.

A second two-man World Cup race of the weekend in Sigulda will take place on Sunday, with Hall competing alongside Nick Gleeson.