Sport in the spotlight: Bobsleigh
Bobsleigh

Sport in the spotlight: Bobsleigh

06 February 2018 / 14:52

Since the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924, bobsleigh has been a fixture at every Games bar Squaw Valley in 1960, when the prohibitive cost of building a track meant it was ruled out by the organisers.

Bobsleigh teams include a brakeman and a pilot in the two-man and two-woman events, while two crewmen or pushers are added for the four-man race.

From a standing start, the crew pushes the sled in unison up to 50 metres before jumping aboard, and the sled can reach speeds topping 150 kilometres per hour, with some turns subjecting the crew to as much as 5g of g-force.

Women made their debut at Salt Lake City in 2002, and since Sochi 2014, new rules now allow women to compete in the four-man event.

Germany is the sport’s most successful nation with ten golds and 21 medals in total, with André Lange, widely considered to be the best ever, winning four golds and one silver between 2002 and 2010, when he retired.

Schedule

February 18

Two-man men’s heats 1 & 2 20:05-22:45 (11:05-13:45 UK time)

February 19

Two-man men’s heats 3 & 4 20:15-23:00 (11:15-14:00 UK time)

February 20

Two-man women’s heats 1 & 2 20:50-22:45 (11:50-13:45 UK time)

February 21

Two-man women’s heats 3 & 4 20:40-23:00 (11:40-14:00 UK time)

February 24

Four-man men’s heats 1 & 2 09:30-12:00 (00:30-03:00 UK time)

February 25

Four-man men’s heats 3 & 4 09:30-12:30 (00:30-03:30 UK time)

Team GB will field two four-man, one two-man and one two-woman crew.

How Team GB have fared in the past

Team GB have won four medals in bobsleigh, including a silver won by a four-man bobsleigh team headed by Ralph Broome at the inaugural Chamonix Winter Olympics in 1924.

Four-man crews also won bronze medals for Great Britain at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 and Nagano 1998.

Britain’s best performance in the discipline came in 1964, when two-man crew Anthony Nash and Robin Dixon won gold in Innsbruck.

At Sochi 2014, current team members Lamin Deen, Andrew Matthews and Ben Simons competed alongside John Baines, racing to 19th in the four-man competition while Deen finished 23rd in the two-man with Baines.

Britwatch

Lamin Deen

Lamin Deen followed the well-trodden path from sprinter to bobsleigh athlete and has enjoyed considerable success in his new sport.

The London-born athlete has served with the Grenadier Guards in Bosnia and Kosovo, making his Olympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014, where he finished 19th in the four-man and 23rd in the two-man.

At the 2015 World Championships Deen and his team of Ben Simons, Bruce Tasker and Andrew Matthews finished fifth overall.

He secured the first major medal of his career with silver in the four-man at the Whistler World Cup last November.

Brad Hall

Brad Hall began his bobsleigh journey in 2012 having formerly been an athlete, competing in the decathlon for Crawley Athletics Club.

After competing at the 2012 and 2014 Junior World Championships, Hall has gone through the Accelerated Driver Programme and registered his first top-20 finish on his World Cup debut in 2015.

On course to pilot the four-man crew to a World Championship medal in 2017, Hall crashed in the second run but won a first World Cup medal with bronze in Whistler in November 2017.

Mica McNeill

Having joined the programme in 2010, Mica McNeill has established herself as one of Britain’s leading drivers.

The former County Durham netballer and hockey player competed at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, winning a silver medal alongside Jazmin Sawyers.

McNeill’s successful career has snowballed since then and she went on to taste North American Cup success when she won gold in Calgary in 2012.

The Consett native enjoyed double success in January 2017, winning World Junior Championship gold with Mica Moore, two days after claiming Europa Cup glory with Montell Douglas.

In November 2017, she and Moore finished fifth at the Whistler World Cup – the best result for British women in more than eight years.

Who is the competition?

Johannes Lochner

Reigning four-man champion Johannes Lochner has bobsleigh in his blood: his uncle Rudi won silver in the two-man discipline at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville.

The German pilot, 27, leads the formidable nation after securing gold in the four-man event in this season’s World Cup. He is also ranked sixth in the two-man standings.

Justin Kripps

Canadian Justin Kripps has been a fixture on the bobsledding scene since 2006. The Hawaiian-born pilot, 31, crashed out of Sochi in a disappointing campaign for Canada.

However, his fortunes reversed and he comes to PyeongChang off the back of World Cup victory in the two-man discipline this season, as well as narrowly missing a podium spot in the four-man event.

Kaillie Humphries

The 32-year-old Canadian pilot became the first female bobsledder to defend her Olympic title after winning back-to-back golds in Vancouver and Sochi, and will be hoping to make it a hat-trick in South Korea.

She arrives in PyeongChang fresh from World Cup victory, and will be hoping to break more records with brakewoman Heather Moyse.

Elana Meyers Taylor

American Elana Meyers Taylor finished second in this season’s World Cup, took gold at the Koenigssee World Championships in 2017 and will be hoping to build on that success in PyeongChang.

The two-time Olympian won bronze in Vancouver and silver in Sochi, so she will be a force to be reckoned with as she goes for gold at her third Games.

Sportsbeat 2018

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