By James Pearson
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – There were hopes of a German win in the women’s bobsleigh final at the Winter Games on Wednesday but not necessarily from the hands of former hammer thrower and Berlin-resident Mariama Jamanka.
However, the 27-year-old led a steering masterclass at the Olympic Sliding Centre to bag her country’s first gold in the event since 2006 and her first notable triumph in bobsleigh.
Even Jamanka looked surprised as she crossed the line with brakewoman Lisa Buckwitz, who sat crying tears of joy into her helmet.
“I’m from Berlin and Lisa is also from Berlin so we are a purely ‘Berlin Bob’,” said Jamanka.
“This composition has never happened before. I’m very proud of it, we’ve shown that we can really do it. It shows that you can come from other parts of Germany and be good in winter sports.”
The duo had been up against more experienced competitors, including American Elana Meyers Taylor, who won silver four years ago, and Canada’s Kaillie Humphries, who won gold in the last two Games.
It was their team mates, Stephanie Schneider and Annika Drazek, who had been expected to lead the German field, but it was the bond between Jamanka and Buckwitz which helped catapult them across the finish line to gold.
“From the beginning we got along very well with each other and we really wanted to show what we could do,” said Jamanka.
“Here in Pyeongchang we had a lot of fun together. We’re room mates and we get along fine. There was a natural connection.
“I still can’t believe that we won. It is our first victory,” she added. “I’m absolutely over the moon”.
(Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Christian Radnedge)