Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Uhlaender fifth in women’s skeleton final
WINTERBERG, Germany (Dec. 17, 2011)–The top 10 women’s skeleton athletes from yesterday were granted one chance to claim gold in today’s final. Just one week after her return to the World Cup circuit, Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) led the U.S. women with a fifth place finish.
“I just went out and raced and didn’t think about how many runs or heats I had,” Uhlaender said. “I know that to be competitive on the World Cup tour I have to bring my best, regardless of the circumstances. There can be a different winner at every race.”
Today’s medalists were determined by one run, unlike other World Cup competitions that are determined by an aggregate total of two runs. Placement within the top 10 was thrown out going into the final run, where all athletes had an equal chance to claim gold. The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation decided to test a new format in Winterberg for the skeleton events.
“It’s a lot of work to prepare for two days of racing,” Uhlaender said. “It’s double the work, but it’s also a lot of fun to be around the bobsledders as they compete.”
Uhlaender clocked a run of 1:00.50 and waited at the finish as her time settled her into fifth position. Uhlaender missed the first race while competing in a weightlifting meet in her bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and burst back onto the skeleton scene last week by claiming bronze. Unlike most athletes that will go home during the break Uhlaender will stay in Europe for the holiday to continue her training.
“It’s go time,” Uhlaender said. “My family understands that training is my priority, so it’s time to get in better shape and be ready for second half.”
Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) could not match her fourth fastest runs posted in yesterday’s qualification and finished ninth with a run of 1:01.04. O’Shea is normally the fastest athlete off the block, but a headwind damaged her efforts off the start and slowed her momentum.
“I’m glad I had a good run and I know I couldn’t control why I wasn’t fast,” O’Shea said. “I’m disappointed, but I know I improved a lot this week. I just really needed that time from the start, because every extra bit allows me to make some mistakes and stay competitive with these top athletes.”
Canadian Amy Gough showed her potential on the Winterberg course after earning bronze last season, and she was golden today by 0.08 seconds. Gough put together a run of 1:00.16 to lead the women’s field for the first time in her career. Her sister, Alex Gough, won gold in the women’s luge World Cup competition in Calgary, Canada last night.
Katharina Heinz from Germany was second with a time of 1:00.24, while teammate Marion Thees clocked a run of 1:00.26 for bronze.
“It’s exciting to see so many different women on the podium each week,” Uhlaender said. “It’s what I dreamed racing to be, and I feel so blessed to be able to race and lucky to be in the top five. Not everyone was so lucky yesterday.”
The men’s skeleton competition wrapped up earlier this morning in between the women’s bobsled heats. Martins Dukurs finished 0.32 seconds ahead of Germany’s Frank Rommel for the victory, while Alexander Tretiakov claimed bronze. The U.S. squad of John Daly, Matt Antoine and Kyle Tress struggled against the weather yesterday and were unable to qualify for the final.
The men’s two-man bobsled race is taking place now, and a live feed of the runs can be watched at www.FIBT.com. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Amy Gough (CAN) 1:00.06; 2. Katharina Heinz (GER) 1:00.24; 3. Marion Thees (GER) 1:00.26;…5. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:00.50;…9. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:01.04;
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: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.