Matt Weston, Susanne Kreher win first world skeleton titles; Olympic champs struggle
Great Britain’s Matt Weston and German Susanne Kreher consolidated breakout post-Olympic seasons by winning world skeleton titles in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Friday.
Weston, 15th at last year’s Olympics, prevailed by 1.79 seconds combining times from four runs, the largest margin of victory at worlds for men or women since 2012.
Weston became the second British man to win a world skeleton title after Kristan Bromley in 2008. The 25-year-old from Surrey left taekwondo at age 17 due to a reported back injury and has three wins in six World Cups this season after considering quitting the sport over the summer, according to the BBC.
“What happened there [at Beijing 2022] hit us all really hard, and it took a while to get over,” he said, speaking of the whole British skeleton team that had no top-10 finishes after medals in the last five Olympics, according to the BBC.
Italian Amedeo Bagnis, whose best World Cup finish is eighth, took silver, a year after placing 11th at the Olympics. South Korean Jeong Seung-Gi earned bronze by one hundredth over Brit Chris Thompson, a year after placing 10th at the Olympics.
Kreher, a 24-year-old sprint convert in her first full World Cup season, won by one hundredth of a second over Olympic bronze medalist Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands. Mimi Rahneva took bronze for Canada’s first Olympic or world skeleton medal since 2015.
Kreher extended Germany’s streak to six consecutive women’s world titles. Kreher, last year’s world junior champion, has three World Cup podiums this season, but no wins on the circuit.
Germany’s reigning Olympic champions Christopher Grotheer and Hannah Neise were 10th and 15th, respectively. Tina Hermann, who won the last three women’s world titles, was fifth.
Two other Olympic champions were absent: 2014 gold medalist Aleksandr Tretiyakov is out due to the ban on Russians for the war in Ukraine. Yun Sung-Bin, a 2018 gold medalist, is taking this season off but is expected to come back, according to the South Korean federation.
The top Americans were Hallie Clarke in 10th for the women and Austin Florian in 19th for the men. The last U.S. medalist at worlds was Noelle Pikus-Pace, who took silver in 2013.
Katie Uhlaender, the top U.S. finisher at the last worlds and last Olympics (sixth both times), has not competed this season after rupturing a tendon in her right ankle two months ago.
Worlds continue with the women’s monobob and two-man bobsled events Saturday and Sunday.
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