Francesco Friedrich began the inevitable march to Olympic glory with victory in the 2-man bobsleigh season opener, his 38th at World Cup level.
The German pilot, with Alex Schueller as push, combined for 1:42.85 which was enough to take gold at Innsbruck-Igls by a cavernous 0.47 seconds.
Friedrich has finished no worse than second in any of his last 33 World Cup two-man races, winning gold 26 times and silver in the other seven.
Beijing 2022
Francesco Friedrich suffers rare bobsleigh defeat in final Beijing 2022 prelude
16/01/2022 AT 17:59
The pair picked up where they left off, ending last season with victory at the Austrian track and starting Olympic year with yet another gold.
Silver went to their compatriots and World Cup runner-up Johannes Lochner with Florian Bauer, 0.47 seconds back.
Britain's Brad Hall and Greg Cackett continued the form that saw them win silver at the Olympic Test Event with bronze.
“It’s a great start to the season for us,” said Hall, who has now had seven top-eight finishes in his last eight 2-man races in Austria.
Winning silver at the Olympic Test Event was a big result and this is another big boost for our journey to Beijing. We said we don’t just want to qualify for the Olympics - we want to show that we are contenders - and we’ve taken another step today.
“It’s tough to beat the Germans so we’re really pleased with a bronze medal, especially when 2-man isn’t our favoured event.”
In the women's monobob, USA's Elana Meyers Taylor toasted her first World Cup victory.
Meyers Taylor and world bronze medallist Laura Nolte of Germany set equal track records with 55.25 at the first time of asking.
The American again delivered the fastest second run and was joined on the podium by team-mate and world champion Kaillie Humphries, 0.13 seconds back.
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One man’s bid for sporting immortality is on the line as Greg Rutherford, Team GB star from London 2012, looks to become only the second man in history to win gold at an Olympic Summer and Winter Games – and discovery+, the home of real-life entertainment, will be there every step of the way.

The highs, the lows, the mishaps and full range of emotions will be captured in this exclusive discovery+ fly-on-the-wall documentary as Rutherford and his bobsleigh team-mates go gunning for glory in Beijing.
Only one athlete, American Eddie Eagan, has won gold at both an Olympic Summer and Winter Games, having claimed victory as a light-heavyweight boxer in Antwerp in 1920 before claiming victory in the four-man bobsleigh at Lake Placid in 1932.
Can Rutherford – a Summer Olympian-turned-media pundit-turned Winter Olympian hopeful – repeat history 90 years later?
The full, as yet titled, documentary will be available to watch on discovery+ in early 2022 with further details to be released at a later date.
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Friedrich reigns supreme again with four-man bobsleigh victory
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