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Look into the tube, daily newspaper Junge Welt, February 22, 2024

Christian Heilwagen/IMAGO

That’s where it goes: Performance test of the national skeleton team in Oberhof (October 2023)

The world’s best skeletons plunge headfirst down the ice track at speeds of up to 145 km/h – and hardly anyone is watching. At the upcoming Skeleton World Championships in Winterberg, the titles will be contested on Thursday and Friday. Sometimes at times when many potential viewers are still at work or school. A circumstance that national coach Christian Baude also complains about. »I am very disappointed with the planning of the IBSF (the international bobsleigh and skeleton federation, jW),” said the 41-year-old Sports information service: “Everyone knows that the main broadcast times on television are on the weekend and that there are more spectators at the track then.”

The skeletonis travel from World Cup to World Cup together with the bobsleigh athletes, but always hold their races on Fridays, while the bobsleigh races take place on the weekend. It will be the same at the home World Cup. Only the final mixed team event is scheduled for Saturday – after four bobsleigh runs. “You could now see at the World Cup in Altenberg how full the track was on Sunday at the bobsleigh race and how empty it was here,” said Baude. But it is also clear to him that separating the two sports is difficult. “It’s financially difficult for us to have our own racing series in the skeleton,” says the head coach: “We might have to shift the race times a little so that there’s a bobsleigh race on Fridays and a skeleton race on Saturdays or Sundays.”

Baude’s expectations of his athletes for the World Cup are clear: “The goal is that we want to fight for the medal in every discipline, men’s, women’s and team.” The current World Cup leader, Olympic champion Christopher Grotheer, in particular, should have a good chance. If he wins his sixth World Championship gold, he will equal Latvia’s Martins Dukurs’ record.

Tina Hermann is already the record world champion. But the currently best-placed German in the overall World Cup ranking (3rd place) is not in the World Cup squad. Last weekend, Hermann showed a strong reaction to her exclusion by winning on her favorite track in Altenberg. But her start times there showed “that she’s simply not in good athletic shape at the moment,” explained Baude: “Looking ahead to the World Cup, I’m still firmly convinced that the decision was the right one.”

Instead, defending champion Susanne Kreher (Oberbärenburg), Olympic champion Hannah Neise and Jacqueline Pfeifer (both Winterberg) will be at the start. The men’s team of the German Bobsleigh and Sled Association is completed by Felix Keisinger (Königssee) and Axel Jungk (Oberbärenburg).

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