Germans call for bobsleigh course to be closed after crashes

A top German bobsleigh official on Friday slammed the four-man bob event as a farce that should be called off, after six crashes in the opening two heats, following a dozen in training.

Germans call for bobsleigh course to be closed after crashes
Photo: DPA

Steven Holcomb was on the way to gold in USA 1 after opening up a provisional 0.4 sec lead over Canada 1 and four-time German Olympic champion Andre Lange – who just avoided a mishap of his own on the dreaded “50-50” curve 13.

“It’s becoming a farce – they ought to call the race off,” said former Olympic champion and German women’s team coach Wolfgang Hoppe.

As Lange struggled to find the form that won him the two-man gold last week, fellow German competitor Karl Angerer, pilot in Germany 3, said the course was just too dangerous.

“The course is very dangerous. It’s just brutal what they are demanding of the pilots,” he said.

There have been some 20 crashes overall on the track where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in pre-Games training died in a crash during pre-competition training.

Two-man bronze medallist Alexsandr Zubkov was one of those to crash Friday while five teams pulled out ahead of the competition.

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Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden