Bobsleigh Medal Favorites at the 2010 Olympics
Going into the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the countries with the strongest bobsleigh teams are Switzerland and Germany — but host country Canada is hoping to break into the medals as well. The United States bobsleigh team did poorly in Torino, but has since done a lot of rebuilding, which they hope will bring them back into medal contention.
The test events at the new Olympic track in Whistler show it to be the fastest sledding track in the world. With competition expected to be tight at the 2010 Olympics, many world records in bobsledding are expected to be set.
The following four women are the ones to watch in Vancouver's bobsleigh competitions.
Shauna Rohbock (USA)
Shauna Rohbock won a silver medal at Torino in 2006 and continues to perform well. Shauna, from Orem, UT, has four World Championship medals along with several World Cup victories — including winning the test event in Whistler this past year.
Nicola Minichiello (Great Britain)
Nicola, from London, leads the duo that has consistently performed well in the World Cup circuit. Since teaming up with Gillian Cooke, the team has managed to bring home Great Britain's first world title in 44 years. With so much success in the last year, Minichiello has high hopes at bringing a medal home to England.
When Nicola Minichiello found herself without a brakeman at the end of 2006, she turned to social networking to solve her problem. Nicola sent out friend requests to every other British female athlete she could think of looking for someone who might want to try a new sport. Gillian Cooke, a track and field athlete, took her up on the offer and the two have been working together for just over a year.
Helen Upperton (Canada)
Helen Upperton is one of Canada’s hopes for a gold medal in women’s bobsleigh; however, she is still not performing at 100%. She is still recovering from accident in which she tore two ribs from their cartilage. Even so, she still managed to come in fourth at both the Whistler World Cup and the World Championships.
Sandra Kiriasis (Germany)
Sandra Kiriasis won both a silver and a gold at the Torino Games. Although Kiriasis has not been at the top of her game this year, she still has a great record. With 9 World Championship medals and 38 World Cup wins to her name, she has to be considered a contender.
These are the men considered the strongest contenders in this year's Olympic bobsleigh events.
Andre Lange (Germany)
Lange is one of the strongest competitors in the bobsleigh field. He has 14 World Championship medals and 3 gold medals over the last 2 Olympics. In spite of having to deal with injuries and equipment failures this year, he still managed to win a silver medal in the World Championships. With this kind of record, he is a top contender.
Steve Holcomb (USA)
Steve Holcomb is America’s best hope for bobsled gold. Over the last few years, Holcomb has amassed 31 World Cup medals. His career was nearly at an end when he developed a disease called keratoconus, which nearly blinded him. However, Steve submitted to an experimental surgery that restored his vision in time for the 2008 season. Since then he and his two-man and four-man teams have won two golds, three silvers and two bronze medals as well as the World Championship in four man bobsled.
Pierre Lueders (Canada)
Pierre Lueders is Canada’s hope for a men’s bobsled medal. Pierre won a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics and then had a few bad years. However, he has had a strong season and has had several top five finishes in World Cup events.