From Altenberg, GER
Feb. 12, 2021 – Christopher Grotheer won his second straight IBSF World Championship gold medal in skeleton, setting the quick time in the last three heats to secure gold.
Alexander Tretiakov was the early leader after one heat, ahead of Germany’s Felix Keisinger and Grotheer, with Alexander Gassner hanging around in fourth. On the second run of the event Keisinger and Grotheer closed the gap to put both men within a tenth of a second behind Tretiakov.
The second day of sliding is where Grotheer took charge. The 2020 world champion set the quick time of the third heat by .27 to move into the lead. On the fourth run Tretiakov tried to answer with a then-heat fastest run. But Grotheer backed up his third run with another strong slide to give him the two fastest runs of the day to win gold. Tretiakov settled for silver, .28 back.
Grotheer became the fourth slider in as many races to defend their 2020 World Championships title. His win gave him three career gold medals in World Cup and World Championship competition, all of which have come in Altenberg.
Coming into the final heat it seemed as though there may be a bit of a contest for bronze, but Alexander Gassner put a lock on that with his fourth slide. Gassner opened up a huge lead with four sleds to go, and neither Evginiy Rukosuev or Felix Keisinger could answer. That gave Gassner his second straight world championship bronze medal.
Keisinger settled for fourth after entering the second day of sliding in second place. He edged out Evgeniy Rukosuev by .05 for the spot, while Rukosuev finished fifth.
Nikita Tregubov was a non-factor for the medals, and finished sixth.
The United States’ Austin Florian came into the second day of sliding in tenth place, looking to move up the order. However, he took a hard hit out of Kreisel in the third heat, and that dropped him to 14th. In the fourth heat Florian couldn’t quite get speed out of his sled as he fell one more spot to 15th. Teammate Austin McCrary finished 29th in his first world championships.
Marcus Wyatt was the top slider for Great Britain. He struggled in the first day of sliding and entered the third heat in 19th place. His third run was the ninth quickest of the heat, while his fourth run was the fifth best. Those quick slides moved him up from 19th to 12th. Teammate Craig Thompson also climbed the ladder in the third and fourth heats to move up to 14th. Matt Weston entered the third heat looking like he’d be a contender for a top six after two very quick and consistent slides. It all fell apart in his third run though as he crashed out of Kreisel, he managed to stay on his sled but finished his run with the slowest time of the heat to fall from sixth to 22nd.
Mark Lynch finished just .09 out of the top 20 in 21st. He had the 15th best run of the first heat, but a disastrous second heat dropped him well out of the top 20. His third run, though, was the 19th fastest run of the heat. His teammate Kyle Murray rounded out the Canadian effort in 27th.
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