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Feb 15, 2012
Preview to Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships 2012: Lake Placid host for tenth time

Weekend kicks off with two-seater bobsleigh and team world championship

Lake Placid (RWH)  Lake Placid really is a placid little place. Or it is until major sporting events come to town, as will happen the coming two weekends, when the bobsleigh and skeleton athletes visit the area to race in the Bauhaus FIBT World Championships, the highlight of their season. This weekend, 17 - 19 February, the track on Mount Van Hoevenberg will see the competitions in the two-man and two-woman bobsleigh, and the team competition. 

The famous track in the US State of New York is hosting the World Championships for the tenth time in its history. Built for the 1932 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid awarded gold, silver and bronze to the world’s best two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams in 1949, 1961, 1969, 1973, 1978 and 1983. In 1997, the skeleton World Championships were also held here, but the competition was still firmly in the men’s domain. After reconstruction in 1999 for the Goodwill Games, Lake Placid again hosted the two-man and four-man bobsleigh World Championships, and in 2009, athletes from all of the FIBT disciplines (men’s and women’s skeleton, women’s bobsleigh, and two-man and four-man bobsleigh) were at last able to fight for medals on the Mount Van Hoevenberg track. Athletes from 20 nations (AUS, AUT, BEL, CAN, CZE, FRA, GBR, GER,  ITA, KOR, LAT, LIE, MON, NED, ROU, RUS, SRB, SUI, SVK, USA) will be competing in the first World Championship weekend, with 17 women’s bobsleigh and 29 two-man bobsleigh teams.


A new FIBT app brings the World Championships to smartphone or tablet

Lake Placid (RWH)  A virtual audience: a new app will allow fans to watch the Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships live from almost anywhere. Digotel Live+ for live video streaming and Video On Demand can be downloaded free of charge from fibt.com, the official website of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation FIBT (Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing), transforming smartphone, tablet, or a TV hooked up to the internet into a grandstand for all of the races in the Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid. Only Video On Demand will be available in Germany, Russia, the UK, Ireland, Canada, France and Italy, as licensing laws prohibit the live service. 


Outlook on women’s bobsleigh: hot favourites from Germany, the USA and Canada

Swiss pilot Fabienne Meyer could be good for a surprise

Lake Placid (RWH)  Several athletes are hot favourites for the women’s bobsleigh as the Bauhaus FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid (USA) approach, with Cathleen Martini heading the lists. The 29-year-old is defending World Champion, and has also just come first in the Viessmann FIBT World Cup rankings for the first time in her career. Other members of the German team are also looking good. Anja Schneiderheinze came overall second in the World Cup and goes to the World Championships with two season victories under her belt, while Sandra Kiriasis collected World Championship gold in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and could be making that a fifth title in Lake Placid, although the 2006 Olympic Champion failed to make it to the top of the podium in the World Cup this season.  

Local heroes from the US team are also up there with a fighting chance on their home track, with Elana Meyers leading the way. While still in the back of the sleigh, the 27-year-old won World Championship silver pushing Shauna Rohbock (2009) and Olympic bronze with Erin Pac (2010), and she raced straight onto the podium in the opening race in the Viessmann FIBT World Cup in Igls (AUT). 

Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada, who has just won the last two World Cup races in Whistler and Calgary, is also in with a good chance, and Switzerland’s Fabienne Meyer could well be good for a surprise. She was in the top three in four of the eight World Cup races this season, and celebrated the best result of her career when she tied for second with Kaillie Humphries in Königssee. 


Outlook on two-man bobsleigh: plenty of title contenders and an exciting outlook

Lake Placid (RWH)  Beat Hefti or Alexsandr Zubkov, Maximilian Arndt or Lyndon Rush, Steven Holcomb or Manuel Machata: the list of title contenders as we come up to the Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships 2012 is endless, promising four exciting runs before the winners of gold, silver and bronze are crowned in Lake Placid, (USA) on Sunday, 19 February. 

Beat Hefti of Switzerland appeared on the podium in each of the two-man bobsleigh races in the Viessmann FIBT World Cup tour this season, and comes to Lake Placid as the new overall World Cup winner. The 2010 European Champion already has one World Championship gold (2007 in Ivo Rüegg’s four-man bobsleigh), one silver (1999 in Marcel Rohner’s four-seater) and two bronzes (2001 and 2005 in Martin Annen's two-seater) to his name from his days as brakeman, and could well collect his first precious medal as driver in Lake Placid this weekend. Alexsandr Zubkov of Russia comes to the competition as defending champion. Although he missed the podium in each of the World Cup races, his total was enough to bring him in third in the overall two-man rankings. For Germany, Maximilian Arndt has notched up four World Cup podium appearances this season and Manuel Machata three, while Canada’s Lyndon Rush celebrated his second World Cup victory in Whistler. And local hero Steven Holcomb hopes that a home crowd in Lake Placid will cheer him on to a second medal to add to the World Championship bronze won in 2009.

Outlook on team competition: will Germany continue gold run?

Lake Placid (RWH)  The German team has an unbroken record in the team World Championships. In all four competitions held to date at a World Championships (St. Moritz, SUI, 2007; Altenberg, GER, 2008, Lake Placid, USA, 2009 and Konigssee, Germany, 2011), Germany collected gold, and in 2011 the second German team also took silver. The remaining team medals were divided between Switzerland and Canada (one silver and one bronze each) and the USA (one silver, two bronzes). 

The host team from the USA will be competing on home ground in Lake Placid, so can be expected to offer strong competition to the defending World Champion from Germany, which also won the two World Cup team events this season.

Each of the national teams is composed of a women’s and men’s two-man bobsleigh team and a male and female skeleton athlete. The times from each run are added up, and the victory goes to the team with the best overall time. 


The timetable for the first weekend in Lake Placid

Lake Placid (RWH)  The first weekend in the Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships 2012 being held in Lake Placid will be dominated by the races in the two-seater bobsleighs and the team competition. The ladies open proceedings on Friday (17 February) with their first two runs at 9.30 am and 11 am (CET: 3.30 pm and 5 pm). The third and fourth runs in the women’s bobsleigh are set for Saturday, 18 February at 5 pm and 7 pm (CET: Saturday at 11 pm and Sunday at 1 am). The men start racing on Saturday, 18 February at 9 am, with the second run at 11 am (CET: 3 pm and 5 pm), and the third and fourth runs on Sunday (19 February), again at 9 am and 11 am (CET: 3 pm and 5 pm). The first World Championship weekend closes with the team competition on Sunday at 1.30 pm (CET: 7.30 pm). 



Date/Time Lake Placid


Date/Time CET




Friday, 17 February, 
9.30 am + 11.00 am


Friday, 17 February, 
3.30 pm + 5.00 pm


Women’s bobsleigh, 


runs 1 and 2


Saturday, 18 February, 
5.00 pm + 7.00 pm


Saturday, 18 February, 11.00 pm/


Sunday, 19 February, 1.00 am


Women’s bobsleigh, 


runs 3 and 4


Saturday, 18 February, 
9.00 am + 11.00 am


Saturday, 18 February, 
3.00 pm + 5.00 pm


Men’s 2-man bobsleigh,


runs 1 and 2


Sunday, 19 February, 
9.00 am + 11.00 am


Sunday, 19 February, 
3.00 pm + 5.00 pm


Men’s 2-man bobsleigh, 


runs 3 and 4


Sunday, 19 February, 1.30 pm


Sunday, 19 February, 7.30 pm


Team competition




The defending World Champions in the two-seater: Cathleen Martini and Alexsandr Zubkov

Lake Placid (RWH)  Cathleen Martini of Germany will be defending her title in the women’s bobsleigh. She already held silver and bronze, and in 2011 the German athlete completed her World Championship set with gold. Interestingly, this was the third World Championship title for her brakewoman Romy Logsch, who had already won gold in 2007 and 2008 pushing Sandra Kiriasis. The US duo Shauna Rohbock/Valerie Fleming came second on the Königssee ice track, allowing Rohbock to end her active career with a second World Championship silver to add to the one won in 2009. Bronze went to Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries and brakewoman Heather Moyse, the first ever World Championship medal for the Canadian athletes in an individual race. 

In the men’s event, Russia took the title for the first time in the 81-year history of two-man bobsleigh World Championships. 59 gold medals had been awarded since 1931 to teams from Germany (a total of 23 for GDR, FRG and GER together), Switzerland (15), Italy (13), Canada (2), Romania (2), Great Britain (2), and Austria and Belgium (1 each). The 60th World Championship gold medal and the first for both himself and his country went to two-times European Champion Alexsandr Zubkov last year. A happy home crowd saw Olympic silver medallist Thomas Florschütz with brakeman Kevin Kuske, and Manuel Machata pushed by Andreas Bredau, bring in double silver for host Germany. 

Germany continued its gold run in the team competition in Königssee, when the Deutschland II team of Michi Halilovic, Sandra Kiriasis/Stephanie Schneider, Marion Thees and Francesco Friedrich/Florian Becke took the gold medal in the Bauhaus FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships 2011. The German team had also come first in the previous three team World Championships in St. Moritz (SUI, 2007), Altenberg (GER, 2008) and Lake Placid (USA, 2009). Silver went to the Deutschland I team of Frank Rommel, Cathleen Martini/Kristin Steinert, Anja Huber and Karl Angerer/Alexander Mann, while Team Canada I comprising Jon Montgomery, Kaillie Humphries/ Heather Moyse, Mellisa Hollingsworth and Lyndon Rush/Cody Sorensen slid into third place to collect bronze. 


The 2011/2012 overall World Cup winners: Cathleen Martini and Beat Hefti 

Lake Placid (RWH)  Cathleen Martini finished the Viessmann FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Cup Tour 2011/2012 with the first ever overall victory of her career, while Beat Hefti of Switzerland celebrated his second overall win in the two-man bobsleigh. 

After three season victories and two seconds, a fifth place in the last race of the tour in Calgary was enough to give World and European Champion Martini the prized winner’s cup for overall victory in the women’s bobsleigh for the first time in her career. The happy winner joked after the race that its “little sisters” – Martini had come second in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011, and third in 2007 and 2010 – would probably make room on the shelf for it. Defending titleholder Sandra Kiriasis of Germany, who was overall World Cup winner nine times in succession between 2003 and 2011, ended the season in third this time round, while yet another member of the German team, Anja Schneiderheinze, came second.

For Beat Hefti this was the second overall victory in the two-man bobsleigh, and the seventh victory for Switzerland. Swiss athletes had also won the overall World Cup title in 2009 (Hefti), 2005, 2002 and 2001 (Martin Annen), 2000 (Christian Reich), and 1989 (Gustav Weder). Maximilian Arndt of Germany was second in the overall Viessmann FIBT World Cup rankings, followed by the previous season’s winner Alexsandr Zubkov of Russia.


On the sidelines 

Elana Meyers (USA), who came third in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics pushing Erin Pac, made her World Cup debut as pilot in December 2010 in the Viessmann FIBT Bob & Skeleton Lake Placid World Cup. She got off to a flying start with a sixth. After the race the new pilot thanked teammate Jamie Greubel for the success of her first World Cup. “She’s really the one that put us in contention. Without those starts we wouldn’t be close to where we are,” said Meyers in a communication published by the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation. The 27-year-old has been successful in the World Cup with all of her brakewomen since then: overall 18th last season, Elana Meyers came third in the opening race of the 2011/2012 season in Igls (AUT), was in the top ten in all of the five races she competed in, and was overall eighth after her final World Cup race. The bobsleigh pilot decided not to compete in the last two World Cups to prepare for the World Championships on home ground in Lake Placid. (RWH)


Shauna Rohbock (USA) raced her last race at the Bauhaus FIBT World Championships in Königssee in 2011 after twelve years in the women’s bobsleigh, and ended her active career with a second silver World Championship medal. The former professional footballer for the San Diego Spirits is a soldier in the US Army, but has stayed loyal to her sport as a bobsleigh coach in Utah Olympic Park. For Shauna Rohbock it’s only natural to go from this track, which hosted the sliding competitions in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to the World Championships on home soil in Lake Placid. “I’m thankful to still be involved in the sports,” she said in a press release published by the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation USBSF. Rohbock, who collected her first World Championship silver medal here in 2009, will be on the support staff to the US coaching team. (RWH)


Thomas Florschütz (GER), European Champion in the two-man bobsleigh, and the most successful driver in the first half of the Viessmann FIBT World Cup season with three victories and one second, will not be competing in the Bauhaus FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid. The 2010 Olympic silver medallist, who also made podium appearances for three thirds and one victory in the four-man World Cup, suffered a stress fracture of the fibula at the European Championships in Altenberg. German coach Christoph Langen was keeping his options open to let Florschütz join the World Championships right up to the very last minute, but the 33-year-old complained of renewed pain in a recent stress test. “We can’t afford to take risks, and only a miracle would have enabled me to compete. We’re now concentrating on next season,” said Thomas Florschütz to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). As in the Viessmann FIBT World Cup, Florschütz will be replaced in the World Championships by Francesco Friedrich. (RWH)