Mariama Jamanka of Germany struck gold on her Olympic Winter Games debut at PyeongChang 2018, teaming up with Lisa Buckwitz to win the two-woman bobsleigh title by 0.07 seconds at the Olympic Sliding Centre on Wednesday 21 February. It was Germany’s first medal in the event since Turin 2006.
Partnered by Lauren Gibbs, reigning world champion Elana Meyers Taylor of the USA fell just short in her bid for an elusive Olympic title, collecting another silver to go with the one she won at Sochi 2014 and her bronze at Vancouver 2010. Canada's Kaillie Humphries – the two-time defending champion – and Phylicia George took bronze after starting the day in fifth.
The 2017 European champion, Jamanka had led the competition by the same 0.07-second margin overnight, with Meyers Taylor cutting the deficit by 0.03 seconds in the third run of the competition. Jamanka then eclipsed her US rival by 0.03 seconds in the final run to clinch gold.
Jamanka, who went without a win in the 2017/18 World Cup season, said: "I'm speechless. We can't believe it. It doesn't feel real so I can't really describe my emotions. I'm so happy that all the work paid off because it wasn't easy. It wasn't easy for me to start out as a driver and we've also had some changes in the team this last year. I'm so glad we managed to get here."
"We have the gold and it was such an amazing race," added team-mate Buckwitz. "We didn't started so well and Mariama did it all on the track. I'm lost for words and it's so amazing. I bet my mum is sitting at home and crying."
"It starts with great pushes and Lauren pushed us this week," said Meyers Taylor. "I had a couple of mistakes so it wasn't a gold medal, but I gave it everything I had and I'm happy with it. It's a very different silver. I'm proud of this medal and I'm going to get up on that podium tomorrow and wear it with pride."
Her brakewoman Gibbs said: "I started this sport four years ago and I tried it out on a whim. I could have never, ever imagined I'd be in the Republic of Korea, so to be walking away with a medal is just incredible."
"This is probably my most emotional medal… how hard we've worked, how much went into this medal and how much it means," said Humphries on her bronze. "I'm extremely happy right now. Each time I've been able to come to the Olympics and compete for Canada is a huge honour."
"I started bobsleigh six months ago so it's been a lot of work," commented team-mate George. "Kaillie has been an amazing mentor to me. I've had great coaches and great therapists, so I'm just thankful to everybody who's put themselves into me and the fact that we were able to come together and do this. I'm just really excited by it."