CALGARY, Alberta- The U.S. Bobsled Push Championships concluded today at the Ice House, an indoor push-start facility, in Calgary, Alberta. Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) claimed the titles for the men's brakeman and side-push competitions, respectively, while Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) won the women's brakeman title. Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) claimed gold in the women's driver competition, and Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) claimed the men's driver crown.
Olsen and Langton moved into the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Lake Placid, N.Y. last May after their rookie bobsled season to train together, focusing on becoming the best push athletes in the U.S.
"One of our goals was to come to Calgary and turn heads by winning the push championships," Olsen said.
Olsen and Langton accomplished what they set out to do by claiming the top two positions in each of the disciplines.
The brakeman title was decided on Tuesday, September 2 by the athlete with the lowest average time taken after two pushes; one with a weighted sled of 20 kg, the second push without weight. Olsen edged out Langton by only five-thousandths of a second to claim the brakeman push title with an average time of 5.085 seconds. Olsen pushed 5.11 seconds with the weighted sled and a 5.06 without weight to be named champion.
"My training environment this summer couldn't have been any better," Olsen said. "I have the best opportunity to better myself as an athlete by living at the OTC, and I owe a large part of my success to Jason Hartman [Lake Placid OTC Strength and Conditioning Coordinator]. Jason has made the extra step to help us achieve our goals."
Langton pushed times of 5.13 and 5.05 for an average time of 5.090 seconds to finish second. Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah), who is also returning after his rookie season last year, tied veteran athlete Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) for third. Fogt pushed 5.17 and 5.08, while Tomasevicz pushed 5.16 and 5.09, for an identical average of 5.125 seconds.
The men battled it out for the side-push title on Tuesday, September 2. The competition consisted of two heats, one on each side of the sled. The athlete with the lowest push time claimed the title.
Langton nudged Olsen from a sweep of the U.S. Bobsled Push Championships by winning the side-push competition, edging his teammate by one-hundredth of a second.
"Justin and I worked hard and recovered harder, and I think that today was really a testament that hard work does pay off," Langton said. "I thought that everyone pushed great, and I'm proud to have been a part of such a hard fought competition."
Langton, who was named 2008 Men's Bobsled Rookie of the Year, pushed the fastest time of the day of 5.05 seconds from the right side of the sled to take the title. Olsen placed second with a push of 5.06 seconds from the left side of the sled, while Tomasevicz finished third with consistent pushes of 5.10 seconds from both sides of the sled.
"I'm proud of Steve for doing as well as he did, and I know that this is only our first step in the process of winning gold in 2010," Olsen said. "I'm looking forward to this season and I'm prepared to represent the U.S. to the best of my ability."
The winner of the women's brake push competition was the athlete with the fastest push time out of two heats. Elana Meyers, who was named 2008 Women's Bobsled Athlete of the Year, claimed the title with a push of 5.59 seconds, the fastest push of the day.
"Winning today was definitely a step in the right direction to where I want to be, but there's still a lot of training to do before the season begins," Meyers said. "I'm greatly honored and blessed to compete with such an elite group of athletes. The competitiveness between us actually drives each of us to get better, and it's only going to get more competitive as we get closer to 2010."
Valerie Fleming (Foster City, Calif.), 2006 Olympic silver medalist, finished second today with a push of 5.61 seconds, while Jamie Greubel (Arlington, Mass.) placed third with her fastest push time of 5.70 seconds.
The athlete with the fastest push time out of two heats determined the winner of the women's driver competition. Erin Pac took the title by nine-hundredths of a second with a push time of 5.69 seconds.
"I'm really excited to be the best push-driver right now, and I hope I can carry my momentum through the season and into World Championships in Lake Placid," Pac said. "My goal is always to be number one. I hope that being number one today is a step towards helping me become USA I."
Shauna Rohbock (Orem, Utah), who claimed the 2006 Olympic silver medal with teammate Fleming, finished second with a push time of 5.78 seconds, while skeleton athlete turned bobsled driver, Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.), placed third with a time of 5.83 seconds.
The athlete with the lowest combined time of two heats was named champion in the men's driver competition, where three-time Olympian Todd Hays returned to national competition for the first time since retiring after the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Hays pushed a 5.42 and 5.49 for a combined time of 10.91 seconds, out pushing the competition by 0.27 seconds for the gold.
"I'm pleased to know that I can compete physically with the younger drivers," Hays said. "I hope these results will add to the confidence in my ability of the push athletes and coaching staff, and I'm excited to be back in the mix."
Steve Holcomb (Park City, Utah), 2007 World Cup Champion, finished second with a total time of 11.18 seconds after push times of 5.57 and 5.61. In third was 2002 Olympic bronze medalist Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) after pushing 5.58 and 5.61 for a combined time of 11.19 seconds.
The teams will reconvene again in October at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y. for the beginning of National Team Trials.
Men's Brake Push (20k, 0kg):
1. Justin Olsen 5.085 (5.11, 5.06); 2. Steve Langton 5.090 (5.13, 5.05); 3. Chris Fogt 5.125 (5.17, 5.08); 3. Curt Tomasevicz 5.125 (5.16, 5.09); 5. Chuck Berkeley 5.160 (5.20, 5.12); 5. Jacob Miller 5.160 (5.20, 5.12); 7. Jesse Beckom 5.190 (5.21, 5.17); 8. TJ Burns 5.200 (5.23, 5.17); 9. Steve Mesler 5.205 (5.23, 5.18); 10. Brock Kreitzburg 5.230 (5.25, 5.21); 11. Jamie Moriarty 5.240 (5.27, 5.21); 12. Bashir Ramzy 5.255 (5.30, 5.21); 12. Cory Butner 5.255 (5.29, 5.22); 12. Jason Waters 5.255 (5.28, 5.23); 15. Alex Sprague 5.270 (5.28, 5.26); 16. Nick Cunningham 5.300 (5.34, 6.26); 16. Bill Schuffenhauer 5.300 (5.33, 5.27); 18. Theron Johnson 5.320 (5.34, 5.30); 19. Hoy Thurman 5.330 (5.35, 5.31); 20. Tom Green 5.350 (5.39, 5.31); 21. Brian Spickler 5.375 (5.40, 5.35); 22. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie 5.415 (5.43, 5.40);
Men's Side Push (Left, Right):
1. Steve Langton (5.14, 5.05); 2. Justin Olsen (5.06, 5.11); 3. Curt Tomasevicz (5.10, 5.10); 4. Chris Fogt (5.12, 5.19); 5. Chuck Berkeley (5.16, 5.19); 6. TJ Burns (5.22, 5.17); 7. Steve Mesler (5.18, 5.18); 7. Bashir Ramzy (5.20, 5.18); 9. Jesse Beckom (5.19, 5.23); 10. Brock Kreitzburg (5.22, 5.22); 10. Alex Sprague (5.31, 5.22); 10. Jamie Moriarty (5.22, 5.27); 13. Bill Schuffenhauer (5.30, 5.23); 13. Cory Butner (5.31, 5.23); 13. Jason Waters (5.23, 5.24); 16. Jacob Miller (5.25, 5.27); 17. Theron Johnson (5.28, 5.28); 18. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie (5.36, 5.31); 19. Brian Spickler (5.39, 5.33); 19. Nick Cunningham (5.33, 5.39); 19. Hoy Thurman (5.33, 5.39); 22. Tom Green (5.54, 5.59);
Women's Brake Push:
1. Elana Meyers (5.59, 5.60); 2. Valerie Fleming (5.62, 5.61); 3. Jamie Greubel (5.70, 5.74); 4. Emily Azevedo (5.73, 5.71); 5. Ingrid Marcum (5.74, 5.74);
Women's Driver Push:
1. Erin Pac (5.72, 5.69); 2. Shauna Rohbock (5.78, 5.80); 3. Bree Schaaf (5.83, 5.83); 4. Jamia Jackson (5.84, 5.84); 5. Phoebe Burns (6.18, 6.20);
Men's Driver Push:
1. Todd Hays 10.91 (5.42, 5.49); 2. Steve Holcomb 11.18 (5.57, 5.61); 3. Mike Kohn 11.19 (5.58, 5.61); 4. John Napier 11.44 (5.71, 5.73); 5. Grayson Fertig 11.51 (5.75, 5.76);
About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Vilter Manufacturing, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets and ULU Boots. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project: Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear and Racing Electronics. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org/