YANQING, China (Reuters) – Germany’s women were looking capable of emulating the unprecedented sweep in the two-man event, racking up training times to envy on Wednesday in at least one bobsleigh that has already brought the country medals this week.
Mariama Jamanka, pilot in the two-woman being contested on Friday and Saturday, was back training in sleds the team had handed over to the winning men’s crew on Tuesday.
Then, Francesco Friedrich, arguably bobsleigh’s greatest pilot of all time, led his country in a rout of the opposition, where the German teams seemed to be racing among themselves in a faster sport.
“We brought different sleds into the Games to see which one is the best,” Jamanka told Reuters. “We will see if they are working as good as in the men’s competition.”
“We invest very much in the sport and we do it on a very professional level. So because of that we have more opportunities,” she added.
While Germany’s women could emulate the men’s podium, they face stiff competition from Europe and North America.
The women’s monobob was Beijing’s first sliding event where Germany did not medal, the spoils instead going to the United States’ Kaillie Humphries, Elana Mayers Taylor and Canada’s Christine de Bruin respectively.
Mayers Taylor was also a dominant force in the last World Cup season, winning both the monobob and two-woman competition.
“I’m still pretty tired, but it’s super exciting to have a medal already,” Mayers Taylor said. “Now I feel can really have some fun and get after it.”
Yet for Canadian pilot Cynthia Appiah, the Germans were still the number one contender.
“If you watched the men’s race yesterday, they have so much going for them. They’ve got the technology, they’ve got the coaching they’ve got the superior athletes,” she said.
“So they’re definitely the team to beat, they always have been and they always will be.”
Canada too has been putting in strong runs, and is a strong candidate to crash the German party.
“I think with what we have access to and what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 10, 12 years as a program since Vancouver 2010, I think our program has definitely stepped up to the plate to challenge them,” said Appiah.
Meanwhile, the three German men’s teams who swept the board in the two-man were back on the ice training for the four-man, which goes off on Saturday and Sunday.
Again, Germany was looking supreme, with two German teams finishing first and second in both runs, one finishing fourth.
(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Alison Williams)