The Greatest of All-Time at Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Luge

Quite My choice of the all-time greats in the winter sliding sports.

BOBSLEIGH

This list refers to the driver or pilot of the bob and includes performances at both two and four man bob.

Men

1. Eugenio Monti (Italy) – the winner of a record nine gold medals at world championships (7 at two-man) between 1957 and 1966. He won 6 Olympic medals including golds at two and four man bob in 1968 at the age of 40.

2. Christoph Langen (Germany) – won eight golds at world championships between 1991 and 2001 and two Olympic golds . He won six world cup titles including a clean sweep of all three titles in 1998-9.

3. Andre Lange (Germany) – winner of four Olympic and eight world championship golds between 2000 and 2010. He won nine World Cup titles taking all three in 2007-8.

4. Erich Scharer (Switzerland) – won seven world championships and 14 medals between 1971 and 1986 and the Olympic two-man gold in 1980.

5. Wolfgang Hoppe (GDR/Germany) – won 14 world championship medals including six golds from 1983 to 1997. He won six Olympic medals including double gold in 1984 and four world cup titles.

6. Fritz Feierabend (Switzerland) – the best of the early bobsledders winning twelve world championship medals from 1935 to 1955. Six of those were gold but he never won the Olympic title although he won five other medals.

The first three are quite closely matched but I just opted for the order above.

Of the non-drivers in bobsleigh Kevin Kuske (Germany) is the most decorated with seven world titles and four Olympic golds from 2002 onwards.

WOMEN

As women have only competed in bobsleigh for a short time I am only nominating two athletes.

1. Sandra (Prokoff) Kiriasis (Germany) – the winner of the World Cup every year from 2003/4 to 2010/1 (eight in total).  She won three world titles in two-woman bob and five in mixed team.   She was the Olympic Champion in 2006.

2. Kaillie Humphries (Canada) – the only woman to win two Olympic golds (in 2010 and 2014).  She has been twice world champion and twice world cup winner.

Kiriasis is a clear number one here.

SKELETON BOB

Due to the relatively recent hosting of international championships I am only nominating three men and one woman.

Men

1. Martins Dukurs (Latvia) – winner of all six world cups since 2009-10 and three world championships. He hasn’t yet won Olympic gold but has two silvers.

2. Christian Auer (Austria) – five times the world cup champion in the early days of the competition between 1990 and 1995.  He was also world champion in 1991 but was at his best before the event entered the Olympics.

3. Jeff Pain (Canada) – twice World champion (in 2003 and 2005) and twice world cup winner.  he also won an Olympic silver in 2006.

Dukurs’s lack of Olympic gold is a slight knock on him but he has done enough elsewhere to be top-ranked.

Women

Marion Thees/Trott (Germany) – the World Cup winner in 2008-9 and 2012-3.  Also World Champion in 2009 and 2011 with two more golds in mixed team events.

No woman has really emerged with a truly long and successful career yet but Thees is the most consistent.

LUGE

Men

1. Armin Zoggeler (Italy) – the winner of a record ten world cup singles titles between 1998 and 2011 with 57 individual race wins, also easily a record.  He has also won six golds at the world championships and ten other medals.  At the Olympics he is the only competitor in any sport to have won an individual medal at the same event in six consecutive Games.  This includes the gold medal at the 2002 and 2006 Games.

2. Markus Prock (Austria) – jointly holds the record for most world cup singles titles with ten between 1988 and 2002.  He has won two world championships at single luge and another three team golds.  He won three European titles at singles and three Olympic medals, although no golds.

3. Felix Loch (Germany) – winner of Olympic gold in 2010 and 2014 and world champion four times since 2008.  he has also won five golds in team events at world championships and one at the Olympics.  He has been the World Cup winner four times so far.

4. Georg Hackl (Germany) – the only man to win three Olympic gold medals in single luge (from 1992 to 1998).  He won three world singles titles and two World Cups and seven more world titles in mixed team events.

5. Thomas Kohler (GDR) – twice world champion and the Olympic champion of 1964 in single luge.  He also won two world titles and Olympic gold in double luge.

The top two are clear of the rest with Zoggeler a fairly convincing number one.  The third place was a close call between the names listed.

Women

1. Sylke Otto (Germany) – winner of the Olympic golds in 2002 and 2006.  She won four world titles in single luge and four World Cups where she won a record 37 races in her career.  She also won two world team titles.

2. Margit Schumann (GDR) – the dominant figure of the mid-1970s when she won every global championship available between 1973 and 1977 before the world cup started.  This included four world titles and the 1976 Olympic gold.

3. Tatjana Huffner (Germany) – Four times the world champion since 2007 and the Olympic champion of 2010.  She has been world cup champion five times (from 2008 to 2012).

This was a difficult decision but Otto just did enough.

Mention should also be made of Susi Erdmann (Germany) who won three world championship golds in single luge and two world cup titles.  She switched to bobsleigh and won two more world titles and two world cups.  She also won Olympic medals in both sports and is the most successful dual-sport female athlete in sliding sports.

Double Luge

1. Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch (Germany) – winners of the double luge world cup six times between 2000 and 2008.  They won the 2002 Olympics and four world championship double luge golds.

2. Stefan Krausse and Jan Behrendt (Germany) – double Olympic gold winners (in 1992 and 1998) and four times world champions at double luge. They won the World Cup three times.

3. Andreas and Wolfgang Linger (Austria) – twice Olympic champions (in 2006 and 2010) and three times world champions.  They won the world cup once.

A reasonably easy decision for the top three pairs in this order.

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