From Winterberg, GER
Jan. 5, 2020 – Sungbin Yun battled back issues during the season opening races in Lake Placid, and as a result he was never really in contention for a medal for the first time since 2015. His back, and his form, came back to life in Winterberg with a gold medal performance.
The Olympic gold medalist had the race’s fastest start and best time in the first heat to open up a .19 advantage on the field. On the second run Alexander Gassner answered, moving up from fourth on the strength of the fastest run of the second heat. Yun’s second heat time was only fourth quickest, but enough to hold off Gassner and the rest of the field to win his first gold medal of the 2019/2020 season.
Gassner finished second, up from fourth in the first heat, while teammate Axel Jungk finished just behind in third. All three medalists were separated by less than a tenth of a second.
Despite what looked like a very clean second run, Martins Dukurs fell out of medal contention from third to fourth. Felix Keisinger finished fifth, while Jisoo Kim fell from second to a career-best sixth in the second heat.
Russian Alexander Tretiakov never was in the hunt for the medals. His seventh place run dropped him from the World Cup points lead to third, behind Axel Jungk and Martins Dukurs. Jungk and Dukurs are separated by only five points.
The American men struggled to find their way down the Winterberg track. Austin Florian led the way for the United States with an 18th place run as the only American to make the second heat. Andrew Blaser had a very nice run going in the first heat, but a very late exit and subsequent hit out of the labyrinth scrubbed off any speed he carried going into the uphill finish, leading to a 22nd finish. Alex Ivanov rounded out the American effort in 27th.
Canadian Kevin Boyer just missed out on the second heat with a 21st place run in the first heat. Teammate Kyle Murray finished just behind him, tied with Blaser in 22nd
Marcus Wyatt led the way for Great Britain with an eighth finish, the only British slider in the top ten. Jerry Rice, making his first World Cup start of the season, moved up from 16th to finish 15th. Craig Thompson missed the cut with a 26th finish, despite the second fastest start of the first heat.
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