Berlin, March 2 (GCSports) — German athlete Francesco Friedrich has defended his title of world champion in the 4-man bobsleigh on Sunday at the IBSF World Championships in Altenberg, Germany and the Olympic champion has also seen his third consecutive win in the event.
From a sporting thriller on the first day of World Championship action when a mere 0.09 seconds separated the top five teams, the final day turned out to be an even more tense sequel.
After the third run, the teams of Friedrich, Nico Walther and Johannes Lochner, all from Germany, led the field – separated by just a single hundredth of a second between the top three with Friedrich and Walther tied in first place.
During the final heat, Friedrich and his team of Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Alexander Schueller pushed 0.05 seconds ahead to win the gold in the 4-man bobsleigh.
“Today has just been crazy, simply unbelievable. The track is lined with fans from top to bottom. Today could not have been better for us. We stood with the sled in the garage yesterday and made a few adjustments. We also looked at our runs again. And we were rewarded – an unbelievable team effort from us,” said Friedrich, who was also the 2018 Olympic champion and 2017, 2019 world champion in the event.
Silver went to the European champion Lochner with Florian Bauer, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp.
Walther with Paul Krenz, Joshua Bluhm and Eric Franke (0.23 seconds back) ended up with bronze. After the race, the 2018 Olympic silver medallist announced his retirement.
“My tears were tears of joy. We had the toughest season of our whole career. To stand here with a medal at the World Championships is just a dream. Altenberg was a very special World Championships for me as they will be my last,” said Walther, who was the runner-up in the 2015 World Championships.
One team that did not appear on the final day was that of Canada’s Justin Kripps, Ryan Sommer, Cameron Stones and Benjamin Coakwell. Pilot Kripps, who was tied in fourth place with Friedrich after the second run, pulled a muscle during his start, which meant he was no longer able to compete.
Fourth place went to Oskars Kibermanis of Latvia with Lauris Kaufmanis, Davis Springis and Matiss Miknis ahead of the Austrians Benjamin Maier/Marco Rangl/Markus Sammer/Danut Moldovan.
The Czech team of Dominik Dvorak with Dominik Suchy, Jan Sindelar and Jakub Nosek celebrated their best World Championship result by far in sixth place