5th-Born on this day in 1936 in Canada – David Gordon Hobart, he competed at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck in the four-man bobsleigh, where the Canadian team were placed 14th.
German Bodo Bittner, born in Berlin today in 1940, had only a short career as a bobsledder, between 1974-76. His best performances were bronze at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games in the four-man event together with pilot Wolfgang Zimmerer, brakeman Peter Utzschneiderand former hurdler Manfred Schumann, and silver at the European Championships the same year. He grew up in the former GDR but fled to West Germany early in 1961, where he was educated as fighter pilot at the Bundeswehr and worked as a track and field coach at the University of Freiburg. Bittner died in Split, Croatia on 23rd September 2012 at the age of 72.
On this day in 1964, Irish bobsledder Peter Donohoe was born in Dublin, affiliated to the Boston Athletic Association in Boston, USA, he competed for Ireland at two Winter Olympics – Nagano 1998 where he and Simon Linscheid came 35th (incidentally Simon’s brother Roman was an Olympic Hammer thrower who competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games). Four years later in Salt Lake City, Donohoe, this time teaming up with Paul Kiernan improved a few places, being placed 26th in the two-man bob.
Zachary John Zoller, who was born in 1973 in San Francisco, competed for the United States Virgin Islands in three Winter Games. In both the two and the four-man event in 1994 at Lillehammer where his teams were 42nd and 28th respectively. In Nagano 1998 and Sa;t Lake City four year later he competed in just the two-man event, placing 33rd and 36th.
Germany’s Romy Logsch, a member of the BRC Riesa club was born in Leipzig today in 1982 and competed between 2006 and 2012. She won two gold medals in the two-woman event at the FIBT World Championships in 2007 and 2008. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancover, Logsch was disqualified when she was ejected from her sled after it had crashed out in the final run of the two-woman event.
Jānis Strenga, born in Sigulda, Lavtvia in 1986, is a brakeman who has been competing since 2008. He won gold in the four-man event at the FIBT World Championships 2016 in Igls Austria, along with Oskars Melbārdis, Daumants Dreiškens and Arvis Vilkaste, this was the first ever World Championships gold medal in bobsled for Latvia. He also won bronze in the four-man event at FIBT World Championships 2015 in Winterberg, Germany as well as 2012 World Junior Championship title at both two-man and four-man events. Strenga competed in 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, winning silver in the four-man event. He became the four-man European Champion in 2015 and finished 3rd in the four-man event in 2016 Bobsleigh European Championship.
6th–Philip Michael “Phil” Duprey, nicknamed “The Bear”, was born on this day in Lake Placid in 1944. He grew up in Saranac Lake and attended school there, where he was captain of both the football and baseball teams. As a pusher Duprey competed in three Olympic Winter Games. In Grenoble 1968, with the four-man bob, he finished in 10th place. Four years later in Sapporo, he reached 14th place and at the Winter Games in Innsbruck, he pushed the four-man bob again, ending up in 19th place. He was also a five-time World Team Bobsledder – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1975, won the two-man bobsled Deterding Cup in St Moritz in 1967 and was a member of the winning four-man sled at the 1967 North American championships. He volunteered during the 1980 Winter Games and was a member of the Lake Placid Track Officials Association for multiple World Championships and World Cup races. After completing his career, Duprey worked on a farm near Saranac Lake. In the late 1980s, he also worked as a consultant for the NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, who founded the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. in 1992. In 2014 he was inducted into the USA Bobsled Hall of Fame
Canadian Christopher Frank was born in 1949 in Bangor, North Wales. After moving to Canada, he represented that country in the 1976 Winter Games at the four-man event, where the team came in 21st.
Kai Alexander Szelig, East German bobsledder born in 1966, was firstly a track and field athlete as well as a boxer, before he turned to bobsledding as a brakeman. He took part in four consecutive Olympic Games, 1988 with the GDR-team, and 1992-98 with the reunified German team in the four-man bob, winning gold in 1994 with pilot Harald Czudaj, Karsten Brannasch and brakeman Olaf Hampel. For the former GDR he also won silver at the 1990 World Championships. Later for the reunified German team he collected two bronze medals at the World Championships in 1991 and 1995 in the four-man, and at the European Championships he won three gold medals in 1992, 1998, and 2002, adding two bronzes in 1995 and 2002. After retiring he became a criminalist.
Born today in 1983 in Grabs, Switzerland, Michael Klingler, who competed for Liechtenstein. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he crashed out in the two-man event and withdrew from the four-man event. Klingler’s best overall finish was fourth in a two-man event in a lesser event at Lake Placid, New York in December 2009.
Russian Roman Alexandrovich Orešnikov, born in 1983, slid for the SKA Krasnoyarsk club and represented Russia at two Winter Olympics – 2006, where he was 18th in the two-man bobsleigh and 2010 in Vancover where he and his four-man team tied for 9th place. His best finish was in the 2008 World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, taking the silver together with compatriots Aleksandr Zubkov, Dmitrij Trunenkov and Dmítrij Stëpuškin.
7th-Born on this day in 1892 in Haarlem, Netherlands, Henri Louis Dekking, was a member of the first Dutch bobsleigh team that participated in the Winter Olympics. In 1928, the Netherlands sent an Olympic team to the Winter Games in St. Moritz, two skaters and five bobsleighs formed the team. Together with Curt van de Sandt (captain), Jacques Paul Delprat, Edwin Louis Teixeira de Mattos and Hubert Menten, Dekking finished 12th in a field of 23 teams. He died in May 1967 in Mexico City
West Germany’s Manfred Schumann was born today in 1951, a hurdler and bobsleigh athlete, he competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. In bobsleigh he won two Olympic medals in 1976 (silver in the two-man and bronze in the four) and one World Championship in 1974 in the four-man bob. As a bobsledder he started for Sportverein Ohlstadt. Schumann was German Champion in 1974 and 1977 in the two-man bob and 1978-79 in the four-man. He started in track & field at his home club TSV Wunstorf, but moved to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 1971 and from 1973-1977 represented USC Mainz. As a hurdler he was runner-up in the 50m hurdles at the 1972 European Indoor Championships, and 5th in the 60m hurdles at the 1977 Euro Indoors. In 1972 he set two world records in the indoor 60m hurdles. The same year he was eliminated in the 110m hurdles heats at the Munich Olympic Games.
Born in 1958 in Ilvino, Russia, Vladimir Petrovich Aleksandrov, who was affiliated to the Dynamo Krasnodar club. Vladimir Aleksandrov and pilot Zintis Ekmanis were the first Soviet bobsledders to win an Olympic medal, when they won bronze in the two-man event in 1984 Olympics. Aleksandrov also won gold at the 1985 and bronze at the 1984 European Championships with Ekmanis and silver at the 1987 European Championships – all in two-man event. He also won one Soviet title in 1984 and five bronzes (1982, 1983, 1985-1987) at the Soviet Championships
Latvian bobsledder Olafs Kļaviņš was born on this day in 1964. He took 5th place in the 1988 Calgary Games as well as a 12th and 15th place at the World Championships (four-man) in 1986 and 1990. European Championship wise he finished 18th in the four in 1986 and 7th in the two-man as pilot and 9th in the four in 1990. Kļaviņš has twice been Latvian SSR two-man bobsled champion and four times champion of the USSR between 1987 and 1990.
Another Levitan bobsledder John Elsiņš was born in 1974 in Sigulda and has been three-time champion of Latvia in the two-man (1996-1998). Elsins studied at the Murjāņi Sports School where he began to practice bobsleigh. A prolific competitor at the European and World Championships, he also competed at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, coming in 5th in the double event and 6th as part of the four-man crew. In the 1997/1998 season he won bronze in the World Cup two-man with Sandi Prussi. After retiring he studied at the Police Academy of Latvia.
Stéphane Galbert, born in 1975 in Schoelcher, Martinique, was a member of the French bobsleigh team that competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics and were placed 21st in the final standings, he was affiliated to the CBLS La Plagne.
Canadian bobsledder Ken Kotyk was born today in 1981 in Rama, Saskatchewan and has competed since 2003. He has won two medals in the four-man event at the FIBT World Championships with a silver in 2007 and a bronze in 2005. Kotyk also finished fourth in the four-man event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
Born today in 1983 in Prague Jan Stokláska, who has competed since 2007. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he finished 12th in the four-man event and 13th in the two-man event. His best finish at the FIBT World Championships was sixth in the two-man event at Altenberg, Germany in 2008.
8th– Hanns Nägle was born in 1902 and was a member of the SC Riessersee in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but in 1930 he started for Berliner SC. Not a lot more is known about him except his bronze at the 1928 St. Moritz Winter Olympics together with Hanns Kilian, Valentin Krempl, Sebastian Huber and Hans Heay in the four/five man bob Germany I. He also won the 1930 German Championships in the four-man bob. His date of death is not known.
Born in Louisville in New York on this day in 1921, Leo James Martin, who competed in the late 1940s for the Saranac Lake Bobsled Club. He was born to a renowned bobsled family, as the son of Robert Martin who slid at the 1936 Winter Games and the brother of Pat who won multiple US and North America titles as well as competing at the 1948 and 1952 Winter Olympics. Leo himself rode as brakeman for Tuffy Latour at the 1948 Winter Games, where they were placed 9th. His only US Championship came in the 1940 four-man, on a sled driven by Katherine Dewey, the only woman to win a US bobsled title in open races. He died on 6th January 1981 at the age of 59 in Rochester, New York.
Another American bobsledder, Reginald Joseph “Reg” Benham was born today, in Lake Placid in 1941. The son of US bobsled legend Stan Benham, Reg also slid for the Lake Placid Bobsled Club. He was the 1963 North American and Diamond Trophy Champion and won the 1964 Olympic Trails as part of the fur-man team, who were placed 6th in the Games themselves. His father Stan is probably the most titled man in American bobsledding, even though his best years came at the end of the USA’s great success in the sport. In 1949 and 1950 he drove the four-man sled that won the world title for the United States, the first two times this had been done. His other titles included the North American two-man (1951, 1954, and 1956) and four-man (1948, 1951, 1953, and 1956), and the AAU two-man (1954, and 1956-57) and four-man (1948, 1951, 1953-54 and 1956-57). He was renowned as a driver and drove with various partners, while representing the Lake Placid Bobsled Club. Benham lived in Lake Placid most of his life, where he was the manager of the extensive park district and chief of the volunteer fire department. In the 60s he also did some commentary for televised bobsled competition.
Austrian Max Kaltenberger, born in 1941 in Vienna, competed at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games with Fritz Dinkhauser– the pair finished in 8th place. Fritz was also a member of the 2nd Austrian four-man team who were placed 12th at the same Games, with the Austrian number one sled winning the silver medal.
9th– Franz Wohlgemuth, who was born in 1897, was an Austrian bobsledder who competed from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. Competing in two Winter Olympics, he earned his best finish of 11th in the four-man event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936 and was 22nd in 1928. He slid for Bobgesellschaft Blitz in Innsbruck
Sweden’s Leif Oskar Johansson was born on this day in 1950 in Morjärv, Sweden and represented Djurgården IF when he joined the four-man in Innsbruck in 1976. In the bob were also clubmates, sprinter Kenth Rönn, brother Jan Johansson and Carl-Erik “Jätten” Eriksson. They came 16th in 3.47.12 from 21 starting sleds. His brother Jan, some seven years older than Leif also competed in 1972 where his was 6th in the two-man event in a sled borrowed from the Italians and was 11th in the four-man event.
10th-Born on this day in 1919 in Saranac Lake, New York, Donald Victor “Don” Dupree, Sr. He died aged 74 in 1993. Affiliated to the Saranac Lake Bobsled Club, Dupree was a great football player and went to Colorado State University on a football scholarship. He also played baseball and ran track in college but an injury put an end to those endeavours, so when he returned to Saranac Lake he joined his five brothers and became a bobsledder, active from 1936 to 1952. He received a bronze medal as a member of the 1948 Olympic four-man bobsled team. The sled was driven by Jim Bickford, and also included his brother, Billy Dupree, and Tom Hicks. He served as chairman of many committees in World Bobsled Championships. In 1946, at the age of 26, he became the youngest elected Saranac Lake Village trustee, serving as a Republican trustee for one term. He had also served as chairman of the Saranac Lake Village Republican Committee, chairman of the North Elba Assessment Review Board, was a member of the North Elba Planning Board, a member and trustee of the B.P.O.E, Elks Lodge No. 1508, a member of the American Legion, and was inducted into the Saranac Lake Redskin Hall of Fame in 1992.
Igor Boras, born today in 1968 in Sarajevo competed in the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, where he and his four-man team were 29th. Though his home city lay ruins he trained by running up and down the carpeted halls of the bombed-out Supreme Court building as part of his training routine that included neither a bobsled or ice! He was to risk his life dodging snipers and UN guards to escape the siege of Sarajevo by running across the airport runway in order to take part in the 1993 World Championships in Innsbruck – “If they made `running for your life’ an Olympic event, we would be sure to do well,” he said. He later settle in America where he has been a Construction Engineer at the Naval Facilities Engineerinf Command since 2006.
Norwegian Dagfinn Sverre Aarskog, born in 1973 in Lørenskog, represented Lillehammer Bob and Akeklubb. He participated in the Winter Olympics in 1998 in Nagano with 17th place in four-man bob. Aarskog is a doctor and practices as a general practitioner at the Colosseum Medical Centre.
Bryan Barnett born on this day in 1987 is a Canadian sprinter who specializes in the 200m and who took up bobsleigh in 2013 and represented Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Barnett won silver in the 200m at the 2006 World Junior Championships, and also competed at the 2007, 2009, and 2011 World Championships, as well as the 2008 Olympic Games without reaching the final. For his silver medal performance at the 2006 World Junior Championships, he was named the 2006 Outstanding Junior Athlete of the Year by Athletics Canada. At the 2007 Pan American Games he won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay, together with teammates Richard Adu-Bobie, Anson Henry and Jared Connaughton. Barnett took up bobsled in 2013 after thinking that his sprinting abilities would make him a good fit for the sport. He is one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games, after competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the two-man and four-man bobsled events, finishing 6th in the two-man with teammate Justin Kripps, and 13th in the four-man with teammates Christopher Spring, James McNaughton, and Timothy Randall.
11th – Tsvetozar Ivanov Viktorov, born on this day in 1963 in Kovachevtsi, Bulgaria represented his country at two Winter Olympic Games. In 1988 in Calgary where the bobsleigh events were the most famous in Olympic history, but for unusual reasons. It marked the first appearance in Olympic competition of a host of new nations and some were amongst the most unlikely to provide winter sportsmen. In the Jamaican team these games created one of the great Olympic underdog stories which was immortalized, though with many liberties taken with the truth, in a Hollywood blockbuster. At the top of the leader board these games marked the end of the era of East German invincibility. They still ended with a medal haul of two silvers and a bronze but this was the only time in their brief Olympic history when they failed to snag an Olympic title. The titles were instead shared between an emerging power in the sport in the Soviet Union and the traditional powerhouse of Switzerland. The Calgary bobrun was made of reinforced concrete and has remained a regular on the World Cup circuit ever since. Viktorov was placed 22nd and 24th in the two-man and four-man events respectively. Four years later in Alberville he again competed in both events, tying for 22nd in the four-man and finishing 28th in the double competition.
French bobsledder Dominique Klinnik was born today in 1965 and competed in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, where he was a member of the France-2 sled which finished in 18th position. The bobsleigh events at the Albertville Winter Games were held at the neighbouring valley of La Plagne. Construction began on the track in 1988 and was completed by December 1990. The track measured 1507m with a drop-in altitude from start to finish of 124m at an average gradient of 8.29% and included 19 curves. These Games saw the zenith of participation in Olympic bobsleighs, as 77 sleds from 25 different nations took to the ice. This is a record that is now unlikely to be broken after the FIBT limited entries via a quota system. Despite the greater number of entries the strongest nations of the 1980s, Germany and Switzerland, were still expected to be the teams to beat. Switzerland did indeed win the two-man event but a desperately close finish to the four-man event saw a victory to the underdogs from Austria.