Francesco Friedrich breaks bobsled world championships record in historic rout

Francesco Friedrich
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German Francesco Friedrich furthered his case as the greatest bobsledder in history and one of today’s dominant athletes, winning a record-breaking 10th world championship on Sunday.

Friedrich captured a seventh consecutive two-man world title in Altenberg, Germany, becoming the first bobsledder to win 10 career golds in standalone world championships (not counting mixed team events).

Friedrich broke his overall tie with Italian legend Eugenio Monti, who also won seven two-man world titles along with two four-man crowns (not counting his 1968 Olympic golds, which at the time also counted as world titles).

Friedrich, who won two- and four-man golds at the 2018 Olympics, prevailed by 2.05 seconds on Sunday, the largest two-man margin in at least 15 years and greater than the margin separating second place from 16th place.

Countrymen Johannes Lochner took second and Hans-Peter Hannighofer third, marking the first time one nation swept the two-man medals at an Olympics or worlds.

Friedrich and push athlete Alexander Schüller were fastest in each of the four runs between Saturday and Sunday.

Friedrich, a 30-year-old nicknamed “Franz” who followed his older brother into the sport, won 15 of the 16 World Cups this season and owns a record 52 World Cup victories for a driver.

Next year, Friedrich can become the first bobsledder to win Olympic two- and four-man golds at consecutive Winter Games.

Worlds continue Thursday with the first heats of men’s and women’s skeleton. Friedrich is the overwhelming favorite in the four-man bobsled next Saturday and Sunday.

U.S. men’s bobsledders skipped worlds to focus on preparation for next season.

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