Friedrich Wins 4th Straight 4-man Title

From Altenberg, GER

Feb. 14, 2021 – There was very little doubt who would win the 2021 IBSF World Championships four-man competition. Francesco Friedrich had dominated the 2020/2021 season in ways that no one ever has, winning all but one heat across the two-man and four-man season. He finished the job off with a victory in the four-man world championships, cruising to victory in Altenberg.

Team Friedrich (Courtesy IBSF TV)

After the first heat it was close, with Austria’s Benjamin Maier only .08 behind Friedrich. But Friedrich had been a little sloppy in that first heat, and over the course of the next two runs Friedrich pulled away from Maier and everyone else. On his third run he came within .05 of the 13 year old track record set by legend Andre Lange. The track wasn’t quite as quick in the fourth heat, but Friedrich pulled away to win by .79 over Benjamin Maier for his fourth four-man world championship and 13th overall (seven two-man championships and two team competitions).

Maier was the class of the field out of everyone not named “Friedrich”, finishing well ahead of anyone else behind him to win his first ever World Championship four-man bobsled medal. Maier had the second quickest run in all but the second heat to take silver, well ahead of anyone else to finish out what was the best year of sliding of his career.

The tightest battle for a medal was for bronze, with Johannes Lochner entering the second day of sliding with Oskars Kibermanis and Justin Kripps breathing down his neck. Lochner was able to put some space between himself and the challengers for his position, and on the fourth run he was slower than Kibermanis, but had enough in the bank to hold off the big Latvian to win his second straight world championship medal.

Kibermanis came up just short in his bed for a medal. The Latvian had the third fastest run of the final heat to close the gap on Lochner, but came .16 short of a bronze medal. Kibermanis was handicapped by a 23rd place starting spot that he overcame with a sixth quickest run in the first heat. His final three runs were all top five runs, with the second trip down only behind Friedrich.

In the 2020 IBSF World Championship four-man race in Altenberg, Justin Kripps had a strong race going but had to pull out due to injury. One year later Kripps finished solidly in the top five, well ahead of anyone behind him.

Christoph Hafer tied with Rostislav Gaitiukevich for sixth place after the Russian set the fifth quickest run of the heat while Hafer could only muster the 12th best run.

Canada placed both of their sleds in the top ten, with a tenth place effort by Christopher Spring. Spring started the competition in 14th place after one run, but moved up over the next three heats to finish in tenth. His finish ties his 2019 Whistler world championship finish for his second best four-man effort in a world championship.

Great Britain’s Lamin Deen started his World Championships with a 17th place run, but moved up in each heat to eventually finish 13th for his best four-man world championships finish since the 2015 championships in Winterberg. Teammate Brad Hall pulled out after two heats due to injuries on his team.

The United States did not have any sleds entered in the event, with their men’s squad back in the United States training for Olympic trials.

Results:

Pos Names Nation Bib Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Total
1 Friedrich / Margis / Bauer / Schüller GER 4 53.78 54.26 53.22 53.76 3:35.02
2 Maier / Molovan / Sammer / Huber AUT 5 53.86 54.56 53.46 53.93 3:35.81
3 Lochner / Bauer / Weber / Rasp GER 7 54.22 54.53 53.68 54.10 3:36.53
4 Kibermanis / Springis / Miknis / Lindenblats LAT 23 54.45 54.41 53.81 54.02 3:36.69
5 Kripps / Stones / Sommer / Coakwell CAN 6 54.33 54.56 53.87 54.19 3:36.95
6 Gaitiukevich / Mordasov / Malykh / Samitov BFR 8 54.46 54.95 54.12 54.18 3:37.71
6 Hafer / Korona / Hammers / Wobeto GER 9 54.42 54.85 53.98 54.46 3:37.71
8 Melbardis / Nemme /Kaufmanis / Dambis LAT 11 54.51 54.71 54.05 54.49 3:37.76
9 Won / Kim / Lee / Jung KOR 19 54.65 54.75 54.12 54.43 3:37.95
10 Spring / Evelyn / Mlakar / Patrician CAN 16 54.78 54.76 54.21 54.37 3:38.12
11 Stulnev / Zaytsev / Kondratenko / Koshelev BFR 10 54.88 54.77 54.31 54.41 3:38.37
12 Deen / Simons / Fearon / Gilling GBR 2 54.89 54.81 54.36 54.41 3:38.47
13 Vogt / Weber / Michel / Haas SUI 20 54.62 54.82 54.51 54.54 3:38.49
14 Andrianov / Antukh / Zharovtsev / Travkin BFR 22 54.96 54.75 54.52 54.27 3:38.50
15 Baumgartner / Fantazzini / Ughi / Bilotti ITA 15 54.76 54.80 54.64 54.49 3:38.69
16 Dvorak / Suchy / Sindelar / Prochazka CZE 12 55.11 55.27 54.83 54.78 3:39.99
17 de Bruin / Dumas / Veenker / Franjic NED 14 55.19 55.37 54.84 54.63 3:40.03
18 Suk / Lee / Chae / Kim KOR 3 54.89 55.71 54.75 54.76 3:40.11
19 Follador / Mariani / Hufschmid / Giumma SUI 24 55.26 55.48 54.90 54.79 3:40.43
DNS Heinrich / Hauterville / Alais / Borges Mendonaca FRA 13 55.18 DNS
DNS Hall / Lawrence / Gleeson / Dawes GBR 17 54.65 55.01 DNS
DNS Tentea / Dobre / Daroczi / Radu ROU 18 54.80 55.00 DNS
DNS Treichl / Glück / Mitterer / Glaboniat AUT 21 55.07 54.86 DNS
DNS Friedli / Fässer / Schläpfer / Jones SUI 1 54.57 55.77 DNS