Because of Corona, the World Cup will not take place in the USA, but in Altenberg. Francesco Friedrich’s goal: to stay the best – now, at the Olympics and in general.
First again: long-term winner Francesco Friedrich is happy at Königssee Photo: dpa
ALTENBERG taz | Unexpectedly, Francesco Friedrich has another home game. Originally, the Bobsleigh World Championships should be held in Lake Placid, USA. However, due to the corona pandemic, all races will take place in Europe this winter. And so the record world champion from Pirna can again compete in front of his doorstep in the ice channel in Altenberg.
But unlike in the 2020 title fights, which also took place in the Ore Mountains, the 30-year-old is taking it easy this time. “Article link https://www.en24.news/e/2021/02/bobsleigh-dominator-francesco-friedrich-soon-even-more-unbeatable.html
The pressure is less,” he says, “we will be good again, but we can approach the task more relaxed this year.”
At the 2020 World Cup, Francesco Friedrich absolutely wanted to set Eugenio Monti’s record. Article link https://www.en24.news/e/2021/02/bobsleigh-dominator-francesco-friedrich-soon-even-more-unbeatable.html
The Italian had won gold in two-point six times in a row in the 1950s. When Friedrich managed to do this, his pusher Thorsten Margis admitted: “We were under enormous pressure, and we also had the moments when we were not sure.” Twelve months later, Friedrich says: “Everyone expected this title from us. “
Everything else is now an encore. At least at world championships. Friedrich’s eyes are already on the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. Because even there he wants to write himself in the history books. “We absolutely want to defend double gold at the games, that has top priority,” says Friedrich. Because never before has a bobsleigh pilot succeeded in winning the competition in two and four in two consecutive games.
Article link https://www.en24.news/e/2021/02/bobsleigh-dominator-francesco-friedrich-soon-even-more-unbeatable.html
The material question in the foursome
Because of this overarching goal, Francesco Friedrich, whom everyone just calls Franz, was not particularly happy about the postponement of the World Cup. On the one hand, he knows the Altenberger Bahn very well, which is why the preparation was easier for him and his troops. “With a view to the Olympics, Lake Placid would still have been better for us,” he says, because in bobsleigh it’s not just about the performance of the driver and his pushers, but also the sled. And in this area he has some catching up to do in the four. “If we could have seen there that our foursome is running better than in the years before, then that would have been good for us too,” he argued.
What should go better with the Friedrich team? At the World Cup finals in Innsbruck-Igls, he won the World Cup combination of two and four – the fourth triumph in the overall World Cup. In addition, the two discipline evaluations. In the total of 16 World Cup races, the winner was 15 times Francesco Friedrich. Only once was Johannes Lochner faster in two.
But before the World Championships in Altenberg he says: “This is a world championship that has nothing to do with the course of the season.” This is a race in itself, in which it depends on the form of the day. He has particular respect for Hansi Lochner, but he also has the Latvians around Oskars Melbardis and the Canadians with Justin Kripps on his list. That is why the Saxon warns against arrogance: “You shouldn’t be praised. We still have four runs ahead of us, which we all have to do well. “
In order to remain competitive, he rearranged his team this winter. Instead of only Thorsten Margis, who accelerated him to five World Cup victories in two, Alexander Schüller was allowed to push in half of the races this season. In the four, too, the 31-year-old Margis had to make way for the eight years younger pupil as the last man and is now sitting directly behind the pilot.
This reshuffle already happened with a view to the Olympics in 2022. “Nobody has ever achieved double double gold,” says Friedrich, “that would be a good record.” But it is far from the end. In 2023 the World Cup will take place again in St. Moritz. “That’s ten years after the first World Cup title,” says Friedrich, the record hunter. Also a special place in Francesco Friedrich’s career.
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