SKELETON - As part of the ongoing 2013 FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the men’s and women’s skeleton events take place later this week. Our facts and figures preview for both events is below.
Begins Thursday, 31 January
Uhlaender can become second woman to win consecutive world titles
> Reigning champion Katie Uhlaender (USA) can become the second woman to defend her world championships title after Marion Thees (GER), who won in both 2009 and 2011.
> Uhlaender has won three world championships medals and can become the first female slider to win four. Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth can also achieve this feat in St. Moritz.
> Uhlaender has one career World Cup victory in St. Moritz in January 2008, and she won bronze the only previous time the world championships were held here in January 2007.
Thees can become the first woman to win three world championship titles
> Marion Thees can become the first slider to win three world championship titles in women’s skeleton.
> Thees currently shares the record of two titles with Maya Pederson (SUI).
> Thees has never made the podium in an international level race on the St. Moritz track. She came second in the European championships there in 2009, but that was part of a wider World Cup race in which she finished fourth.
> Germany leads all countries with nine world championships medals in the women’s event and can be the first country to reach 10 medals if Thees or one of her compatriots is on the podium. The United States has eight medals and could also reach 10 by putting two sliders on the podium.
Pikus-Pace trying to remain undefeated in world championship races in St. Moritz
> Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) won the only previous women’s world championship race held in St. Moritz, in 2007.
> Pikus-Pace can join Pederson as the only women to have won two world championships titles on the same track. Pederson won both her world titles in Calgary.
> Pikus-Pace also won silver at the 2005 world championships. If she wins bronze in St. Moritz, she will join her compatriot Uhlaender as the only female sliders with the complete set of world championships medals. Germany’s Anja Huber can also do this by winning bronze.
Rudman and Yarnold seek Great Britain’s first women’s world championships title
> Great Britain has won three medals in the women’s event at the world championships, equal fourth-most overall and the most by any nation that has never won gold.
> British sliders have won the last four World Cup races at St. Moritz – Shelley Rudman from 2009-11 and Elizabeth Yarnold in 2012.
> Rudman’s three World Cup victories in St. Moritz are more than any female slider at the track. However, she has never won a world championships medal, finishing fourth at each of the last two editions.
> Yarnold, who won bronze at her first senior world championships in 2012, could become the third youngest women’s skeleton world champion at 24 years 93 days on Friday. The youngest is Steffi Jacob (GER), who won the first world championships title in 2000 at 24 years 45 days.
Begins Friday, 1 February
Dukurs can be first man to win three straight world titles
> Martins Dukurs (LAT) has won the last two world championships gold medals and can become the first slider to win three consecutive world championships titles.
> Dukurs can become only the second man to win three world championships titles overall after Gregor Stähli (SUI), who won in 1994, 2007 and 2009. Dukurs and Canadians Jeff Pain and Ryan Davenport are the only other men to have won it twice.
> Since the start of the 2011 calendar year, Dukurs has won 20 of the 22 races at World Cup and world championships level. Both races he did not win were claimed by Germany’s Frank Rommel.
> Dukurs has won the last two World Cup races on the St. Moritz track and has been on the podium in the last three World Cup races there.
> If Dukurs and his brother Tomass Dukurs are both on the podium, it will be the first time one country has had two medallists in the same year in this event since 2007, when the USA took silver and bronze.
> Other than Dukurs, the only man in the 2013 field who has previously won the world championships title is Kristan Bromley (GBR), who won in 2008.
Austria, Switzerland and Canada chase a record 6th title
> Austria, Switzerland and Canada have all won the men’s world championships gold medal five times and are vying to become the first to win it six times.
> However, no sliders from Austria, Switzerland or Canada have made a World Cup podium so far this season. The last man from any of those three countries to win an international standard race was Olympic champion Jon Montgomery (CAN), who last won a World Cup race in November 2010.
> Canada has nine medals in men’s world championships history and if Montgomery or one of his compatriots is on the podium in St. Moritz, Canada will become the third country to reach 10 medals after Austria (currently 18) and Switzerland (14).
St. Moritz hosts men’s skeleton worlds for record 5th time
> St. Moritz becomes the first track to host the men’s skeleton world championships five times. It previously shared the record of four with Calgary.
> The six-year gap between St. Moritz’s last world championships in 2007 and the 2013 edition is the shortest time between St. Moritz world championships. The others were held in 1982, 1989 and 1998.
> In the four previous men’s skeleton world championships held at St. Moritz, the 12 medals were won by just four countries: Switzerland (6), Austria (3), the United States (2) and Germany (1).
> Switzerland has never failed to win a medal at a world championships held in St. Moritz. Swiss sliders won two medals in both 1982 and 1998 and one each in 1989 and 2007.
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