The Skeleton World Cup is a multi-race series over a season for skeleton. The season usually starts on December in Canada and ends in March in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The World Cup is organised by the IBSF (formerly the FIBT) who also run World Cups and Championships in skeleton. The season is sponsored by BMW.
In the 2016-17 season, Latvia’s Martins Dukurs won his eighth successive overall Skeleton World Cup title at the Alpensia Sliding Centre in PyeongChang. The 32-year-old edged out home favourite Yun Sungbin by just 0.01 second in the final race of the season, securing the overall title by 39 points over the South Korean. Dukurs’ brother Tomass took home bronze but third place in the overall standings went to Alexander Tretiakov (RUS). “It was an interesting challenge,” said Martins Dukurs after his win. “I wouldn’t say my second run was good or perfect, but at least better than the first.”
In the women’s, Germany’s Jacqueline Lölling rounded out a stellar season with her third win in South Korea, clinching the overall World Cup title for the first time. With under a year to go until PyeongChang 2018, the world and European champion set the first track record on next year’s Olympic course with a time of 52.75. 2014 Olympic bronze medallist Elena Nikitina (RUS) took second, her best result since November 2013. In a surprise result bronze went to Kimberley Bos (NED), her country’s first-ever World Cup podium finish in skeleton. In the overall standings Tina Hermann (GER) took second behind Lölling while Mirela Rahneva (CAN) took third.
With the Winter Olympics at his home track under a year away, South Korean skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin said Thursday he's pursuing perfection. Yun, 22, will be host South Korea's best and only medal hope in men's skeleton at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. He has finished second overall in each of the past two International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup seasons, and Yun said he believes a home track advantage at Alpensia Sliding Centre just might get him over the hump. "I want to be able to post the exact same time at every run," Yun said at a press conference in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, after an open practice session. In eight World Cups this past season, Yun never finished worse than fifth. He had one win and three runner-up finishes, including one at the season finale at Alpensia.
Martins Dukurs of Latvia, the greatest skeleton slider, beat Yun both for the overall title and the World Cup crown in PyeongChang. Dukurs edged out Yun by 0.01 second in the second run to clinch his eighth consecutive overall World Cup championship. Yun, who has idolized the Latvian, said he seethed over that narrow loss for days, because he didn't think he'd committed any glaring mistake. "I didn't think I'd get beat at the time, but I think a tiny mistake made the difference," Yun added. "If I continue to work harder, I should post better results. I'll let my times do the talking next season."
In sliding sports, familiarity with a given track is considered crucial to success. It's likely no coincidence that the past two men's Olympic skeleton champions have come from the host nations, while Dukurs settled for silver medals on both occasions.
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