Double gold Walker makes Monobob history
12 November 2018
BOBSLEIGH: Australian Breeana Walker has made history as the winner of the first ever women’s monobob events.
Traditionally a pilot in the 2-man bobsleigh, Walker added the monobob to her resume this year after it was announced the discipline would make its Winter Olympic debut at Beijing 2022.
A decision that has clearly paid off for the 26-year-old who took out the inaugural event in Lillehammer, Norway earlier this month. Walker clocked up a combined time from the two races of 1:57.52, 0.51 seconds in front of France’s Margot Boch in second and +1.01 ahead of Karlien Sleper from the Netherlands in third.
Heading into Race 2 the following day, Walker didn’t let the new target on her back rattle her nerves and she secured another win in a combined time of 1:57.95, with a 0.38 second margin on Sleper in second and +0.60 on Boch in third.
Walker said it was a “surreal” feeling to take out the double gold.
“I think it took the second win for it all to really sink in that I did it, not only once, but twice!” Walker said.
“I have dreamt about hearing our national anthem play as I stand on top of the podium for as long as I've been an athlete and after the first win, hearing that play, it really did give me chills and a lump in my throat.
“The first win was for me! All the hard work, the long hours spent training, the struggle juggling uni, work and training, the sacrifices that you happily make as an athlete, all the sweat and tears was all worth it after that win.
“The second one was for all those who have stood by me and supported me through thick and thin. It took the work of a whole team to make this season a reality and I'm so grateful for those who have come on board to support me in making my dream a reality!”
The two races followed a week-long ‘Emerging Nations Development Camp’ in Norway where 12 rookie bobsleigh pilots from seven nations worked with coaches and sleds provided by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF).
IBSF are hosing six training events with concluding races this season, to give rookie female monobob athletes the opportunity to develop in the new Olympic discipline.
Walker will continue to compete in the 2-man event as well as the monobob as she works towards qualifying for an Olympic debut in four years' time.
“I will be competing in both disciplines this season and will continue to do so heading towards 2022,” the Victorian said.
“I have two new brakemen who I believe have great potential in the sport and we will hopefully be able to produce some good results, especially for their rookie year.
“I enjoy both disciplines very much - the last week of sliding monobob has been one of, if not the most fun weeks of sliding in my bobsleigh career so far. But I do love working with a team and celebrating when you produce a great performance together with my teammates.”
Fellow Aussie monobob rookie Jamie Scroop is also amongst the developing sliders and placed 8th in the first event and 12th in the second in Lillehammer.
The women’s monobob development program will now move to America for the next training camp and races in Park City, Utah from 13-19 November.