Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): Bobsleigh Track, L'Alpe-d'Huez
Date Started: February 16, 1968
Date Finished: February 16, 1968
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Circumstances meant that it was difficult to draw a form line from recent world championships to the 1968 Winter Olympics. Not one of the medallists from the 1965 Worlds was present at Grenoble whilst both the 1966 and 1967 championships were abandoned.
The tragic death of Germany’s Toni Pensburger curtailed the 1966 event whilst adverse weather conditions meant that the next year’s championships were never even started.
[Eugenio Monti] of Italy had defeated his Olympic jinx in the two man event and entered the four man competition as favourite despite it being seven years since his last world title in the event.
The weather again threatened to ruin proceedings but after two days were abandoned the racing eventually got underway albeit restricted to two runs instead of the scheduled four. Monti did not disappoint and posted the fastest time of the first run. Behind him were the Austria I quartet piloted by [Edwin Thaler] and the second Italian crew. The fastest times of the second run was posted by Switzerland I, which moved them into the bronze medal position, and by Thaler’s Austrians but Monti was not to be denied. His lead was cut to less than a tenth of a second but that was sufficient to make sure that he became the first man to win both bobsleigh events at a single Winter Games.
This was the last race of Monti’s illustrious career which had seen him gather nine world titles in addition to his six Olympic medals and a reputation for fair play. He retired from competition to pursue his business interests but stayed in the sport as manager of the Italian team. After suffering from Parkinson’s disease for close on two decades [Eugenio Monti] ended his own life in 2003.
Further down the field were two men who found success in the world of motor racing. Both [Boris Said, Jr] of the United States and Briton [Robin Widdows] competed at the top level of the sport and participated in Formula One Grand Prix races.