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Interview with double world champions Johannes Lochner and Francesco Friedrich.

In this interview, the two top-class athletes of the “Bob- und Schlittenverband für Deutschland” look back at the nail-biting finale at the Königssee and talk about their “Road to Pyeongchang”.

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Munich. This was an absolute first in the 93-year history of this competition: At the 2017 BMW IBSF Bob and Skeleton World Championships, Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner (both GER) clocked the same time after four heats at the Königssee (GER) track to become joint 4-man bob world champions. Prior to that unique feat, Friedrich had secured the crown in the 2-man competition, too. In this interview, the two top-class athletes of the “Bob- und Schlittenverband für Deutschland” look back at the nail-biting finale at the Königssee and talk about their “Road to Pyeongchang”. You can watch the video of the interview on our Facebook page here:  http://bit.ly/2nzEq5w .

 

Johannes, Francesco, which of you took the trophy back to their room on that world championship Sunday?

Johannes Lochner: “The trophy stayed with me in Berchtesgaden. Franz headed straight home with his family. It is at the engravers at the moment, where we will both have our names put on it.”

 

How will you decide who gets the trophy when in the future?

Francesco Friedrich: “It has turned out very nicely, actually. Because next year is the Olympics, we can both keep the trophy for a year. That makes it relatively easy to share.”

 

Identical times after four runs: that is the first time that this has happened in the 93-year history of the world championship. Has everything sunk in yet?

Lochner: “Yes, it is gradually sinking in. It was certainly a nail-biting finale. Particularly when you are separated by just one hundredth of a second after the third run, and know full well at the start that you cannot afford for anything to happen. Then, stood at the bottom with Franz on his way down after you, you can see the time disappearing, and then ultimately the 0.00. That was really sensational.”

Friedrich: “As Hans said, it was absolutely incredible. I don’t think there has been such a tight and exciting race for a long time.”

 

What went through your head when you realised that there would be two world champions?

Friedrich: “It was really strange at first. I arrived at the finish and thought: ‘Have the guys gone mad? Why are the celebrating? Hansi is on top.’ Then I saw that there were two number ones on the timing screen. That was a really good feeling. And we both thoroughly deserved to win.”

 

Joint world champions, and yet still rivals in competition: how do you get on away from the ice?

Lochner: “I think we actually get on really well. Family is very important to him. We are on the road all year, and there are never any problems. As you said, once the lights go green, we are rivals. However, as soon as we are down at the finish, we both help each other out.”

Friedrich: “Exactly.”

 

How are you finding the Olympic run in Pyeongchang? What are the challenges?

Friedrich: “We have had our first runs now. I was there for a bit in October. There are two or three points where it gets a bit exciting – particularly turn two and turn nine. The rest is actually relatively relaxed. You obviously have to get it just right, but those two points are ultimately going to decide who finishes out in front.”

 

What is the goal for 2018? Franz – gold in the two-man bob? Hansi – gold in the four-man?

Lochner: “Let’s go for identical times twice.”

Friedrich: “Agreed.”

Lochner: “We will definitely be going for gold now.”

 

What role does technology partner BMW play in ensuring you are ideally prepared for the Games?

Friedrich: “It is very practical: we are back in the wind tunnel on 25th March. I think that will give us another boost, as I believe we still have a little in reserve, which we have to thrash out and use. That is another very important appointment as we look ahead to next year.”

 

What next for you? Are you going to take a holiday?

Lochner: “University starts again soon for me. Because the end of the season runs until the end of March, I only have a couple of weeks free. I am sure I will head off somewhere, but then I will be straight back to university to do a bit of swotting and clear my head.”

Friedrich: “We only get home on 20th March, then my son will take priority for a while. Maybe we’ll go away for a few days. However, I don’t believe we’ll have all that much time.”

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