Unconcerned, but with a portion of anger in her stomach, Susanne Kreher raced headfirst to the surprise gold at the skeleton world championships.
The World Championship debutant, who likes to skateboard in the summer, prevailed in the skeleton Mecca of St. Moritz with a tiny lead of a hundredth of a second against Olympic bronze medalist Kimberley Bos from the Netherlands. Third place went to Canadian Mirela Rahneva.
At the finish, Kreher couldn't believe her luck. "I was excited, it would be a lie if I said I was really cool. I concentrated on what I wanted to do, a good ride, a good start. I enjoyed every run, I was relaxed helped," said the 24-year-old from BSC Sachsen Oberbärenburg before she received a champagne shower from teammate Jaqueline Lölling.
Already junior world champion last year
The former middle-distance runner switched to skeleton in 2015 and is improving her starting skills in Dresden with athletic coach Stefan Poser. On the home track in Altenberg in the Ore Mountains, she works under the direction of national base coach David Friedrich, brother of record world champion bobsledder Francesco Friedrich.
Last year Kreher became Junior World Champion in Innsbruck despite a broken nose during a training run. After that she remained number four in Germany with no real chance of being on the Olympic team. That was frustrating for her and at the same time an incentive. With a bit of anger in her stomach, she clinched three World Cup podium places in Lake Placid and Altenberg this winter - only the first victory in the World Cup is still to come.
The sports soldier from Dresden, who has had 16 tattoos since 2018, saved her success for the natural ice rink in the Swiss Engadin. On her favorite track, she conjured up a best time on the ice at the start. While many favorites such as defending champion Tina Hermann or Olympic champion Hannah Neise stumbled, Kreher had her nerves under control.
Even in the final she fended off the attack of the overall World Cup winner Bos and raced to the World Championship throne in St. Moritz, where a skeleton race took place for the first time in 1887. Now the next tattoo should come, "preferably a motif with the beautiful mountains here in St. Moritz," said Kreher.
disappointment among men
The German men, on the other hand, were disappointing across the board. Olympic champion Christopher Grotheer was the best German in tenth place, Olympic silver medalist Axel Jungk had to settle for 18th place in the World Championships.