Francesco Friedrich, Olympic bobsled legend, sets retirement plan

Francesco Friedrich

German Francesco Friedrich became arguably the greatest bobsledder in history through meticulous preparation. It’s not a shock, then, that he mapped out his retirement nearly four years in advance.

Friedrich, who won two- and four-man bobsled gold at the last two Olympics, plans to make the 2026 Winter Games in Italy his last competition.

Friedrich, 32, outlined the retirement decision in a video published last week and confirmed it in an email Monday.

In Beijing, Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis became the first bobsledders to win two gold medals at multiple Olympics. Women didn’t get two events until this year.

In 2026, Friedrich and Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The next Olympics will have added significance for the Germans because they will be in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the nearest Winter Games host to Friedrich’s native Saxony in 50 years.

Friedrich said his wife, Magdalena, suggested finishing his career at the 2023 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, site of the first of Friedrich’s record 11 world titles between two- and four-man a decade earlier.

But they decided to go all the way to 2026 and plan to make the Milan-Cortina Winter Games a big celebration after having a limited entourage in Beijing.

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