Bobsled

jkempa

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If you want to expand this thread to cover skeleton too (they’re under the same federation) a Ghanaian man and Nigerian woman also qualified. I’m not really sure how because they don’t have the requisite world ranking, but they were the top athletes from Africa. The Ghanaian man has unfortunately been terribly behind the competition, but the Nigerian woman won a medal at a North American Cup race recently (though that level of competition is significantly below the World Cup competition she’ll be facing in Pyeongchang).
 

jkempa

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I just found out one of my old skeleton buddies is coaching the Nigerian woman and gets to do the opening ceremonies as a coach. I’m psyched for him.

American bobsledder Justin Olsen is the master of bad timing and just underwent an emergency appendectomy in Korea. He expects to be able to complete. Fingers crossed.
 

jkempa

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Akwasi Frimpong! Is he the "Eddie the Eagle" of these winter Olympics?
Not sure if you were asking about my friend, but he is coaching the Nigerian woman, who will definitely not medal, but may not come in last. My friend Nick coached her to a medal in the North American Cup at Park City (his home track).

Akwasi Frimpong is kind of an Eddie the Eagle situation, but not exactly. He is a really good athlete in a way I don’t think Eddie was (Frimpong’s starts are really fast), but Frimpong is not particularly good at skeleton. Unless someone crashes or is disqualified, he will come in last place. I think I might be able to beat him and I shouldn’t be in the Olympics. He is in because he represents Ghana and he’s the only African competing in men’s skeleton. He would not be in Pyeongchang if he were from any other continent.

All that said, I follow him on Facebook and he seems like a really nice guy and is generally well-liked among the athletes as best I can tell. I wish him well, and think that having geographic diversity in the competition is a good thing.

Edit: I just looked at the first set of training runs today and the Nigerian woman definitely has some work to do if she is not going to come in last, and Frimpong did much, much better than I expected, such that I will amend my statement that I could beat him. I don’t think I could. Good for him.
 
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Ale Xander

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Luger Erin Hamlin deservedly wins the flagbearer's honor for the US.

This is the all-purpose ice sliding thread, I presume.
 

jkempa

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Jamaica is back for the 2018 games. They qualified for woman's bobsled.



http://www.bbc.com/sport/winter-olympics/42700681
There’s a bit of a controversy about the Jamaican women’s bobsled team. They agreed to use a Japanese bobsled for the olympics. But there was one race that the Japanese could not get the bobsled to them in time for the competition in Germany. So they borrowed a Latvian bobsled and did better and thought it was a better sled. So they want to use the Latvian bobsled at the Olympics, despite their contract saying they’d use the Japanese one. The Japanese are suing them for ¥68 million.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2018/02/06/olympics/winter-olympics/olympics-bobsled/jamaicans-opt-racing-japanese-made-bobsleds/#.WnwmIHAxXDs

I can’t speak to the quality of the Japanese sleds’ construction, but they do have beautiful paint jobs.

 
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JimD

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My strongest memory of that original Jamaican bobsled team was of the sled flipping over on one of the later runs and one guys head being stuck outside the sled as it continued to slide down the track upside-down. I thought he'd snapped his neck and it was amazing he wasn't seriously injured. It was like, 'Ok, this has been a fun story but this sport is no place for amateurs'.
 

Schnerres

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'Ok, this has been a fun story but this sport is no place for amateurs'.
Just what I thought when I saw US girl Emily Sweeney crash today. I don´t mean to say she´s an amateur, but there probably are lots of people with much less experience and this course seems to at least be a little bit dangerous. Not as much as Whistler was 2010 and it´s not considered a high speed course, but some turns are hard to get through.
 

jkempa

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Just what I thought when I saw US girl Emily Sweeney crash today. I don´t mean to say she´s an amateur, but there probably are lots of people with much less experience and this course seems to at least be a little bit dangerous. Not as much as Whistler was 2010 and it´s not considered a high speed course, but some turns are hard to get through.
That crash illustrates why luge is dangerous. When I learned skeleton, my instructor tried to explain the difference between an luge sled and a skeleton sled. The analogy he used was that driving a luge sled is like driving a formula one race car and driving a skeleton sled is like driving a tractor. If you make a mistake in skeleton, you’re less likely to totally lose control like that (and then lower center of gravity also helps.)

The one bad crash I had in skeleton though was by having a skid like that and entering a big turn at the wrong angle. You can see it happening and by that point there is not much you can do.
 

jkempa

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Some controversy on the skeleton track. Team GB, which is always good, is having some pretty impressive training runs. It seems that they’re at least pushing the limits of what is allowed on their speed suits.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/12/gb-skeleton-pyeongchang-skin-suits-british-cycling?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

They did something like this in 2010 with helmets that had some kind of aerodynamic benefit, and the rest of the athletes were pissed.

I don’t have time to look up the rules right now, but suffice it to say from the discussion I have seen is that this is VERY close to the line of what is legal. It will be interesting to see if the jury allows this in competition. They did let the helmets go in 2010.

Edit: Team captains have issued formal complaints about the suits to the jury.
 
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BigMike

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I just don't get the point of 2 man Luge. I am sure it is tremendously complicate and hard to do, but I just don't get it.

Either way it is the weirdest looking sport at the games, well at least until they try to make some combination of Luge and Skeleton into a 2 person team ;)

 

jkempa

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I just don't get the point of 2 man Luge. I am sure it is tremendously complicate and hard to do, but I just don't get it.

Either way it is the weirdest looking sport at the games, well at least until they try to make some combination of Luge and Skeleton into a 2 person team ;)

It's a crazy-ass sport.

I don't know a ton about it, but the thing that most people don't recognize is that the top guy is the eyes and he's tapping signals to the bottom guy who is doing most of the steering (blindly).

I have no idea who thought this was a good idea.
 

TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

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It's a crazy-ass sport.

I don't know a ton about it, but the thing that most people don't recognize is that the top guy is the eyes and he's tapping signals to the bottom guy who is doing most of the steering (blindly).

I have no idea who thought this was a good idea.
I'm gonna go with the Swiss. They seem all buttoned down and formal, but give them a sled and show them an iced slope and they lose their fucking minds.
 

BigMike

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It's a crazy-ass sport.

I don't know a ton about it, but the thing that most people don't recognize is that the top guy is the eyes and he's tapping signals to the bottom guy who is doing most of the steering (blindly).

I have no idea who thought this was a good idea.
What is frightening is I know enough about the sport to largely know the bottom guy is doing most of the work, so in some ways it is fascinating when you think about it, but man it just looks so stupid
 

jkempa

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Due to techical difficulties, I could only see Sungbin Yun's second run today, but damn is he good. I don't see any way that he loses this. Pretty much everything he did was perfect.

Home ice advantage makes a big difference, especially when it's a track that competitors have had few runs on (i.e. it wouldn't be such a big advantage at Lake Placid or St. Moritz, etc.)

There's a great story about how that worked from the 2002 Olympics. Tristan Gale had never won a World Cup medal, and she is a tiny athlete. She woke up the morning of the event in Park City, and it was snowing, which should have been a massive disadvantage for her. Instead, her coaches gave her the gameplan of instead of driving the fastest line, driving the least snowy line. She did and she won, but largely because she knew where those spots were.
 

BigMike

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You just don;t see that everyday. Team comes down and takes the lead despite a massive wipeout on the last turn
 

AB in DC

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Amazing catch-up for the Germans -- started off almost +0.20 behind the US sled at the start, but 1 kph faster toward the bottom of the run. Is that the sign of a good driver or a better sled?
 

streeter88

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Crazy stuff happened in the final run of the men's 4 man bobsled.

French were very lucky not to crash.
US couldn't get everybody in the sled, and ran half the run with the driver's handle sticking out of the sled.
Canadian team had s blazing start to try to crack the podium, and just lost it in the final couple of turns.
But the top 3 teams did what they had to do, and the Koreans pulled out a tie for Silver.
And of course the Germans won. With such a massive margin starting out, there was really no way they were going to not.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Has there been any discussion in the US about the US 4 man bob team?

I thought they were supposed to be good this year, but they did not look the goods tonight.
Was Holcombe supposed to be a driver this year? I feel like his death seems to have really rocked the bobsled community and put a bunch of guys into spots quicker than maybe they should have been.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Was Holcombe supposed to be a driver this year? I feel like his death seems to have really rocked the bobsled community and put a bunch of guys into spots quicker than maybe they should have been.
Yeah, Holcomb died last May at the training facility in Lake Placid, he was definitely planning on driving the #1 sled again this Olympics.
 

streeter88

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Was Holcombe supposed to be a driver this year? I feel like his death seems to have really rocked the bobsled community and put a bunch of guys into spots quicker than maybe they should have been.
Wow. Dead at just 37 (far too young - what a tragedy!) and seemingly at the peak of his career.

You might be right. That last US run tonight looked like four guys who were not in sync at all. The pressure of the final run at the Olympics, even if they weren't challenging for a medal, could maybe expose lack of cohesion due to only having a short time together.

We might hear more as time goes on. Both they and the French were pretty lucky nothing worse happened than a bad run.
 

jkempa

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Wow. Dead at just 37 (far too young - what a tragedy!) and seemingly at the peak of his career.

You might be right. That last US run tonight looked like four guys who were not in sync at all. The pressure of the final run at the Olympics, even if they weren't challenging for a medal, could maybe expose lack of cohesion due to only having a short time together.

We might hear more as time goes on. Both they and the French were pretty lucky nothing worse happened than a bad run.
Yeah, Holcomb’s death really forced everyone to move up into positions that they weren’t quite ready for this season.

In addition, USA #1 pilot Justin Olsen had a emergency appendectomy just after arriving in Korea. It’s never a good time for one of those, but this seems like especially bad timing.

Considering the Holcomb’s death was likely suicide, it seemed like the whole team was off even more from losing him. By all accounts, he was an extremely popular, friendly and helpful athlete - like another coach out there, and someone they may never replace.

Hopefully getting these guys early experience will help prepare them better for 2022, but from what I’ve been able to tell, the talent pool overall in the USBSF is weaker than it has been for a while.
 

streeter88

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In addition, USA #1 pilot Justin Olsen had a emergency appendectomy just after arriving in Korea. It’s never a good time for one of those, but this seems like especially bad timing.
Wow. I wasn't following bobsled closely, but I now remember reading about that. No wonder.

Based on all of the disaster that befell the US bobsled team in the last 12 months, they deserve kudos for getting through a pretty awful time. They might emerge as heroes next Olympics!