Slovakian pilot Viktória Čerňanská has been dominating the international youth monobob series since its introduction by the IBSF ahead of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. She is also among her country’s most promising young talents in athletics! Here we hear from a 17-year-old champion who will be one of the firm favourites to win in St Moritz, where the monobob competition will be held at the next YOG.
The “IBSF OMEGA Youth Series” was set up by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation specifically with the aim of preparing young athletes for the monobob event at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. In the very first event held on 15 February 2019 in St Moritz, at the Olympia Bobrun in the canton of Grisons – the very track where the YOG competitions are due to be held – Viktória Čerňanská took the top spot, beating Germany’s Celine Harms into second place by 0.17 seconds, while Romania’s Georgetta Popescu finished third, 0.22 seconds behind Čerňanská. The second race was held in Königssee on 23 February, with Viktória coming top once again, this time ahead of Popescu, 0.11 seconds slower at the end of the two runs. In doing so, Viktória won the first international series of her discipline in her age group.
From athletics to monobob
“I started monobob in Lillehammer in November 2018,” she explains. “It was my athletics coach, Andrej Bician, a former bobsledder, who introduced me to the sport. I did gymnastics until I was 14, and then I got into athletics. As soon as I did my first monobob race, I fell in love with the adrenaline and the incredible sensation of speed, and the next races helped me to gain more experience and to develop my piloting skills. After my first win, I started to train seriously to try and achieve something big. My biggest dream is to win an Olympic medal.”
Born on 29 March 2002, the young Slovak sportswoman started out as a real phenomenon in athletics. As she explains: “At the U18 national outdoor athletics championships in 2019, I won the 100m hurdles and pole vault events. Indoors, I won the pentathlon and finished 3rd in the long jump, also at U18 level.”
With the races of day 2 underway, here are yesterday's winners:— IBSF (@IBSFsliding) October 27, 2019
Camila Copain 🇫🇷, Georgeta Popescu 🇷🇴, Maja Wagner 🇩🇪 (top), Celine Harms 🇩🇪, Viktoria Cernanska 🇸🇰, Emily Kilburn 🇨🇭 (in front)
OMEGA Youth Qualification series for #Lausanne2020 in #Lillehammer pic.twitter.com/1qgoJ6AUN0
Comfortable win in the international youth series this winter ahead of the YOG
That was in the summer. The “IBSF OMEGA Youth Series” resumed on 26 October in Lillehammer and the eight races held up to 8 December, including on the Park City track, have served as qualifiers for the YOG, with quota spots being determined per country. There will be 36 monobob athletes – 18 men and 18 women – competing at Lausanne 2020, with a maximum of three pilots per country. Viktória Čerňanská has shown herself to be a formidable competitor, posting wins in Lillehammer, Königssee and two in Lake Placid (winning both runs). She also came top of the overall leaderboard in the 2019-2020 series, achieving a total of 682 points, ahead of Camilla Copain of France (600 points) and Maddy Cohen of the US (512 points).
Viktória says she enjoys monobob because it's an individual event – “like my other sports” – and her training schedule for the discipline changes throughout the year. “We train several times a week when we’re on the ice tracks, but at the moment we’re in the midst of preparing for the YOG so we’re doing ten sessions a week,” she explains, reminding us that Slovakia has no bob track.
Objective Beijing 2022
Hailing from Bratislava, the young champion, as gifted in track and field events as she is on ice toboggans, will be the favourite to win the event at the 2020 YOG, in her view “the greatest sporting event for young generations, the equivalent of the Olympic Games for adults” – the latter having left her with many amazing memories, the greatest being: “The last gold medal Usain Bolt won in Rio, and also all the events featuring American gymnast Simone Biles.”
In St Moritz, Viktória will be competing on her favourite track “because it’s natural ice, and because I’ve already won on it.” The YOG will be just a stepping stone in what she hopes to be a glorious career, with her eyes firmly set on winning “titles and medals in our national athletics championships, and the same in bobsleigh at world level.” It’s worth remembering the women’s monobob event will be included on the Olympic programme at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing!