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Things to know for the bobsleigh and skeleton worlds

The bobsleigh and skeleton world championships start Friday in Germany. Here's some stuff you should know about the event, including an almost unbeatable German and a reborn Kaillie Humphries.

Such as: Kaillie Humphries is back and there's an almost unbeatable German

Canadian pilot Justin Kripps will have to beat Francesco Friedrich and German engineering on their own soil to win gold. (Hans Pennink/Associated Press)

The bobsleigh and skeleton world championships start Friday in Altenberg, Germany and run through the following weekend. Here are some other things you should know:

There are three bobsleigh and three skeleton events

For bobsleigh there's a four-man, a two-man and a two-woman. Skeleton has men's, women's and mixed races. Mixed teams are made up of two athletes from the same country. They each do one run and their times are added together. All the other events are made up of four runs. That's the same number they do in the Olympics, but twice as long as a World Cup race.

The best Canadian bobsleigh pilot is Justin Kripps

He won Olympic gold in the two-man in 2018 and silver in that event at the last two world championships. Kripps won the World Cup season title in the two-man two years ago and finished third in the standings this year despite not winning a race. He won three four-man races this season but also finished third in the World Cup chase in that event because he had only one other podium finish. Kripps won the final race of the season, though, so maybe he's getting hot at the right time. Also, he picked up a bronze in the four-man at last year's world championships. So he's a threat to walk away from Altenberg with two medals.

Canada has a strong contender in the women's bobsleigh event too

Christine de Bruin won bronze at last year's world championships and finished third in the World Cup standings this year. The 30-year-old reached the podium twice this season, but she's never won a World Cup, world championship or Olympic race. So a silver or bronze in Altenberg would be a nice result for her.

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Kaillie Humphries is doing just fine without the Canadian team

In her first season after their messy split, Humphries rediscovered the form that made her a two-time Olympic and world champion last decade. Competing for the United States, she won four of her seven races — no one else won more than one — before skipping the last one to prepare for worlds. That probably cost her the World Cup title, but consider her the gold-medal favourite in Altenberg.

Canada is not as good in skeleton

The entire team produced only one podium finish this season — a silver by Mirela Rahneva in Winterberg, Germany back in early January. But she did have four fourth-place finishes and finished fifth in the World Cup standings, so consider her a fringe medal contender. And if you want to re-live probably the greatest moment in Canadian skeleton history, read Jon Montgomery's first-person piece on his pitcher-perfect (get it?) day at the Vancouver Olympics here.

Francesco Friedrich is the non-Canadian athlete to watch

The 6-foot, 212-pound German is the most dominant bobsleigh pilot in the world right now — maybe ever. He's the reigning Olympic champ in both the two- and four-man. He also pulled off the double at each of the last two world championships, and ditto for the last two World Cup seasons. With this year's worlds happening in Friedrich's home country, the 29-year-old is a massive favourite to win his sixth consecutive two-man world title and his third four-man in a row.

CBC Sports is streaming every race live and also showing some on TV later

Competition starts Friday at 8 a.m. ET with the first two runs of the women's bobsleigh event. The two-man event begins Saturday at 5:30 a.m. ET, followed by the final two runs of the women's at 9:30 a.m. ET. The two-man wraps up Sunday starting at 8:30 a.m. ET. Then the competition takes a break for a few days before finishing up next Thursday through Sunday with the men's, women's and mixed skeleton events and the four-man bobsleigh. You can watch everything live here. This weekend's coverage on CBC TV is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. in your local time, and there's more next weekend. See the CBC Sports broadcast and streaming schedule for full details.

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, the CBC Sports daily newsletter. Stay up to speed on what's happening in sports by subscribing here.

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