- 30 Jan 1984
- St. Moritz 1948
Felix Endrich - Bobsleigh
It is one of the curiosities of the Olympic Winter Games that you can get teams from the same country battling against each other in search of a medal. In the bobsleigh, the contest for two-man gold turned out to pitch Switzerland 2 against Switzerland 1.
The two teams were clearly superior to any others in the field. The previous winter, in preparation for the Olympic Games, the world championship had been held on the same track and the Swiss teams had finished first and second. So the question now did not seem to be about which nation would win the title, but rather in which order the Swiss athletes would climb the top two steps of the podium.
In Switzerland 1 was Fritz Feierabend, who had taken a silver medal at the Garmisch Games back in 1936. Piloting Switzerland 2 was Felix Endrich, 26 years old and often coached by Feierabend. The two were good friends, but also fierce rivals.
The first run was decisive, with Endrich and brakeman Fritz Waller building an advantage of more than a second. They repeated that performance in the second run, to end the opening day with an advantage of 2.6secs. Barring a crash, it was hard to see them losing from there.
Feierabend threw everything into the next two runs, going narrowly faster in the third descent and more than a second quicker in the final run, but the first day gap was simply too large to overcome. Endrich had his gold. The United States 2 bob took bronze, nearly five seconds behind Feierabend.
The other American bob finished ninth, with Tuffield Latour as its pilot. More than half a century later his grandson, also called Tuffield Latour, coached the American team to win the first Olympic gold in women's bobsleigh.
Following the St Moritz Games, both Swiss teams continued. Endrich was to return to Olympic action four years later, but could not add another medal as he finished fourth in the Oslo Game, with Feierabend taking the bronze. Endrich took the world title the following year.