Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): Bobsleigh Track, L'Alpe-d'Huez
Date Started: February 8, 1968
Date Finished: February 11, 1968
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Since the 1964 Olympics three crews from different countries had claimed the world title. A seventh world crown for Italian [Eugenio Monti] in 1966 was sandwiched between victories for Great Britain in 1965 and a first ever world title for Austria on the Olympic track in 1967. Added to the list of possible challengers were the West German bobs driven by [Horst Floth] and [Wolfgang Zimmerer] along with bobs from Switzerland, Romania, Canada and the USA.
At forty years of age [Eugenio Monti] was not the dominant force he had been in earlier years but on the first run at L'Alpe d'Huez he recaptured his form of the early part of the decade and posted a track record in taking the lead ahead of Romania I and Great Britain I.
The second run was won by [Horst Floth] of West Germany but at the end of the first day Monti had increased his lead to a third of a second. The competition had already been delayed for a day due to adverse weather conditions and the concluding two runs were to be held on the 11th February, three days after originally scheduled. A stunning third run from Floth meant that West Germany leapt to the top of the standings with a tenth of the second to spare over their Italian rivals. Starting early on the final run Monti shot down the track and smashed the track record with a time of 1:10.05 then had to suffer a long wait until the leaders came down the course. Floth made an excellent start but lost vital fractions of time later down the track. As the German pair crossed the finish line the clock stopped at 1:10.15 and the gold medal appeared to be shared between West Germany and Italy. Shortly afterwards, with the Germans already celebrating, a loudspeaker announcement broke the news that regulations stated that in the event of a tie the crew that recorded the fastest single run would be regarded as champions.
Whilst this was a cruel blow to [Floth] and [Bader] there was a genuine feeling of delight that the efforts of [Eugenio Monti], four times previously a medallist but never Olympic champion, had been rewarded with a place on the top of the podium in his final year of competition. Third place finishers were the crew from Romania who became the first Eastern European Olympic bobsleigh medallists and, as of 2010, the only Romanians to have won a medal at the Winter Games.