Feature: German bobsleigh king Friedrich dreaming of double gold at Beijing 2022-Xinhua

Feature: German bobsleigh king Friedrich dreaming of double gold at Beijing 2022

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-01-11 20:36:15

Gold medalists Germany's Francesco Friedrich (R) and Thorsten Margis pose for photos during medal ceremony of 2-man bobsleigh at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, South  Korea, Feb. 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang)

For German bobsleigh athlete Francesco Friedrich, "it's all about the Games in China."

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- For good reason, there seems only one topic keeping the mind of Francesco Friedrich busy - "It's all about the Games in China."

Strict discipline, overwhelming desire, and attention to detail seem to come naturally with Germany's most successful bobsleigh athlete, the 13-time world champion and 2018 double Olympic champion.

A passionate approach has been his trademark ever since he entered sports at a professional level. Ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Friedrich has changed into a higher gear to realize his dream of repeating his success from four years ago.

After some training sessions on the Yanqing track, Friedrich's optimism grew even further. Like many German athletes, he praised the track as outstanding and spectacular.

There seem no doubt that the 31-year-old German is the big favorite in the 2-man and 4-man competitions.

But old titles are a thing of the past in his perspective. "After all, we are preparing for the Olympic Games, not a regional event," he stated.

Therefore, he is moving every possible obstacle out of his way. The family man didn't take any chances over Christmas, canceling all invitations for his close relatives. His brother and parents had to stay away, "because we don't want to take any risk. It's too dangerous to gamble."

Christmas, usually a big family event, instead turned into a lonely affair.

He and his wife also removed their children from nursery until the end of the Games. "Everyone is behind the idea," he said.

Germany's Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis compete in the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, South Korea, Feb. 19, 2018. Together with Canada's Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz, the Germans shared the gold medal in an identical time of 3:16.86. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

His uncompromising approach seems to make it easier to accept the strict rules implemented by the Chinese organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep everyone safe during the Games.

For Friedrich, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to all events. "It doesn't make sense to think about the measures. Instead, use your energy to deliver a satisfying competition," he commented, adding that it is vital to keep one's speed from the start to cover the flat parts of the Yanqing track.

The Olympic Games is the climax for every athlete and justifies every sacrifice, he added.

After setting a new record, winning his 100th podium place and the 2022 World Cup, Friedrich continued his preparations.

For him, it means working on his sleigh, worth 80,000 euros, talking to engineers, and training until the last drop of energy has been used.

Friedrich counts on team spirit and his competition experience, which seems of unpredictable value in Yanqing.

Friedrich and his brakeman Thorsten Margis expect a strong challenge from Canada and Latvia, and claim not to forget about the Chinese team. The German crew mentioned home advantage, as the Chinese athletes can count on a significantly higher number of test runs.

Friedrich hopes to make up by relying on his experience. "It seems the Chinese athletes lack the same experience we have collected over many years," he said. Nevertheless, it is one of his habits to take all of his competitors seriously.

The Olympic Games, in his perspective, unleashes a motivation boost for all athletes, even more when they have the chance to compete on home soil. For Friedrich, this is reason enough to not forget about the smallest details.

He even took care of the possible celebrations after a victory. The Friedrich team always gathers in his garage in his hometown of Pirna to smoke a cigar. 


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