The world’s finest bobsleigh and skeleton athletes have gathered in Winterberg, Germany as the World Championships return following a one-year absence due to the Sochi Winter Olympics. As of Thursday 5 March the event was at its halfway stage.
Elana Meyers Taylor and brakewoman Cherrelle Garrett flew the stars and stripes high and proud after they became the USA’s first world champions in women’s bobsleigh.
Olympic silver medallist Meyers Taylor and Garrett broke the track record in three of their four runs as they held off European champion Anja Schneiderheinze and Annika Drazek of Germany.
In the final competition of her career, Germany’s former World Champion Cathleen Martini and teammate Stephanie Schneider took bronze.
With Torsten Margis on the brakes, european champ Francesco Friedrich steered his bob to the best time in all four runs and straight to the top of the podium.
Overall world cup winner Oskars Melbardis and fellow Latvian Daumants Dreiskens were joint second with Germany’s Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm.
Bowe leads American one-two
Astana played host to this year’s World Sprint Speed Skating championships.
The current crop of lightning-fast men and women battled it out over two days of leg-burning competition at the Alau Ice Palace in the Kazakh capital.
Each skater competes in two 500 metre and and two 1000 metre races.
The winner is determined by the best aggregate time.
In the women’s event it was Brittany Bowe who dominated winning all four of her races to claim gold.
It turned out to be an American one-two with Bowe’s compatriot Heather Richardson taking the runners-up spot.
Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic rounded off the podium.
Pavel Kulizhnikov took the men’s gold.
The powerful Russian enjoyed wins in three of the races and a third placed finish in the fourth.
He dethroned two-time Dutch defending champion Michel Mulder to become the first Russian world sprint world champion since Sergei Klevchenya in 1997.
Compatriot Aleksey Yesin took third overall behind silver medallist Hein Otterspeer of the Netherland’s.
Great Britain dominate season opener
Embracing the spirit of its ancient counterpart the Modern Pentathlon comprises five disciplines – fencing, swimming, horse riding, pistol shooting and running, although the latter two are combined.
The 2015 World Cup season got under way recently in the US where competitors put their physical and mental skills to the ultimate test.
The first stop took place at Sarasota on the southwest coast of Florida – the site of last season’s final.
James Cooke of Great Britain won the men’s gold following a thrilling finale.
He was consistent throughout the day and after the fencing and 200 metres freestyle, headed into the riding third overall.
After a clear round on the horse he then made a final push in the combined running and shooting section to overahaul leader Egypt’s Amro El Geziry to take victory.
It capped off a fine showing by Team GB after Samantha Murray had earlier won the women’s title.
Round two of the series takes in Cairo at the end of March.
Rock and Roller
For athletes and fans alike there’s nothing more exciting to look forward to than when a sport groups all its disciplines into an Olympic-style event.
Well, prepare yourselves, there’s a new one coming.
The first unified World Championships for all disciplines of Roller Sports will take place in 2017.
At the end of February it was announced Barcelona would have the privilege of hosting the very first edition of the Roller Games after beating Lima in the voting.
But what will be on offer for the roller fans in the Catalan capital.
The inaugural staging of the world championships consists of ten roller disciplines: artistic, speed, rink and inline hockey, skateboarding, inline freestyle and downhill, a bruising roller derby, inline alpine skating and the hugely popular roller freestyle.
The event will be a major boost to the sports Olympic aspirations after the International Olympic Committee unanimously passed their Agenda 2020 reform, which opened up the possibility of more sports being added to the Games.
But first thing’s first…Barcelona 2017.
The body, mind and a bamboo sword
The roots of this sport can be traced back to the early Samurai period. It is both a sport and an art.
The Japanese style of fencing called Kendo unites body and mind.
This week’s inside sport takes a look at the ‘Way of the Sword’.
It appears to be two people hitting each other with bamboo sticks but it is much more than that.
As many kendokas see it – the sport is spiritual and a way of life.
With that said two bamboo sword-bearing kendokas seek to score points by delivering blows to key points on the opponent’s body.
Points can be scored by hitting the top or sides of the head protector, the wrist protectors, the sides of the armour protecting the torso and the area in front of the throat.
A kendoka uses a shout and stamps their leading foot to express their fighting spirit when striking.
A match is usually the best of three points, therefore the first one to hit twice is declared the winner.
Let the dogs out
From the ‘way of the sword’ to the ‘way of the sled’.
To wrap up this week’s programme we’ve let the dogs out.
Our end-of-show clip comes from the Winter World championship in Sled Sprint and Skidogs at Bernau in south west Germany. (see clip above)