Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Gabryszak sweeps women’s skeleton races in Park City Intercontinental Cup; Stewart and Dellemann claim bronze medals in men’s races
Photo by Sandy Blankenship
PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 8, 2012)- Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) swept the women’s skeleton Intercontinental Cup races on her home track in Park City, Utah, and was accompanied on the medal stand by her husband Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.), who earned bronze in yesterday’s men’s skeleton race. Mike Dellemann (Oregon, Wisc.) added another bronze to the count today to bring the medal total to four, the most ever won by the U.S. in an Intercontinental Cup event.
“This was an awesome week of racing for the U.S. Intercontinental Cup team here on home ice,” said U.S. coach Brian McDonald. “I’m definitely pleased with the outstanding performances that were displayed here in the last two days. Four medal finishes and five top-six results is phenomenal and our best week ever on this tour. I’m a happy coach.”
Gabryszak has been building towards this moment. The seventh-year slider felt crushed after failing to qualify a third sled in last season’s World Championships when she finished ninth and 11th in the 2011-2012 Park City Intercontinental Cup series. Ready for redemption on her home track, Gabryszak exploded off the start in the Park City World Cup event three weeks ago, but she lost her footing and slipped a few steps into her push. She was unable to make up time down the course and was pinned in 15th place. Gabryszak was in tears at the finish, devastated for disappointing a home crowd.
This week was a different story. Gabryszak started out with the fourth best heat of the first women’s race yesterday, and was 0.10 seconds from bronze medal position. She stay focused and laid down a blistering second heat of 57.07 seconds. Gabryszak watched as her combined time of 1:44.58 stood up to one, two, then three sliders to take over the lead.
“It felt like redemption after imploding in the Park City Intercontinental Cup races last spring and the World Cup slip a few weeks ago,” Gabryszak said. “I cracked under the pressure. I felt like there was unfinished business on the ice here, so this was a relief as much as an accomplishment.”
Gabryszak said waiting at the finish to see how her time stood up to the field was intense, and that the support and excitement from her competitors “was amazing.” Gabryszak couldn’t contain her excitement for not only gaining redemption after a series of disappointing races on her home track, but for earning her first career win.
“I was immediately hugged by athletes from no less than five other nations, and they joined me for a moment of screaming and jumping up and down in excitement,” Gabryszak said. “What a great and gracious group of competitors.”
This morning’s race was questionable after a snowstorm lingered over the course. The competition was delayed, and the athletes were “on pins and needles wondering if they were going to cancel” according to Gabryszak. Once races were underway, Gabryszak burst off the block with confidence to dominate the competition. She clocked runs of 52.07 and 52.51 seconds for a total time of 1:44.58 to sweep the women’s races.
“Yesterday I could sit at the bottom and watch the competition fall behind me, while today I had to sit at the top and try not to pay attention to how everyone else was doing,” Gabryszak said. “I knew it was all up to me at that point. To see the number one on the finish clock as I came across the finish was such a relief.”
Katharina Heinz fell 0.02 seconds short of Gabryszak to earn silver the first day with a total time of 1:42.60. German teammate Sophia Gribel, who was the first heat leader, dropped back 0.04 seconds to finish third with a combined time of 1:42.62.
British athlete Laura Deas earned today’s silver medal with a cumulative time of 1:44.86. Lanette Prediger from Canada posted a two-run total of 1:44.96 to claim bronze.
Gabryszak’s teammate Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) continues to suffer from knee pain, despite surgery several months ago to repair a partial meniscal tear. O’Shea continues her rehabilitation while competing, and clocked total times of 1:44.15 and 1:45.30 to finish 14th and eighth, respectively. O’Shea shows promise of gaining back speed and strength after posting the third fastest start time of the first heat today.
“It’s been hard for me to get back into racing, and my knee has really given me some problems since trying to get back to 100-percent as fast as possible,” O’Shea said. “People tell you it’s going to be difficult, but no one really fills you in on how hard coming back from surgery is and how exhausting it is on you physically and mentally. I’ve been trying to stay positive, but as an athlete you are always putting pressure on yourself.”
Gabryszak had a lot to celebrate on Friday. In addition to winning her first international competition, her husband claimed bronze in the men’s race. Stewart was in fifth place after the first heat and gained motivation after watching Gabryszak move up from fourth to first.
“I was ecstatic for Kimber,” Stewart said. “I think I may have told some people that I had already won for the day and didn’t even need to race anymore. It really relaxed me and I had a great second run.”
Stewart’s second run was third fastest of the heat and enough to move him up into medal position. Stewart clocked a total time of 1:40.79 to earn his first career Intercontinental Cup medal.
British athlete Dominic Parsons slid to the finish in 1:39.95 for the victory. Alexander Gassner from Germany was second with a two-run total of 1:40.30.
U.S. athlete Dellemann made the biggest comeback of the event. Dellemann was tied for 10th after today’s first heat, but he was undeterred by the time difference between himself and the medals.
“There wasn’t much of a gap, so I knew there was a chance,” Dellemann said.
Dellemann powered off the start with the fastest push time and maintained his lead down the course to clock the best run of the second heat. Dellemann stood at the finish and watched as his total time of 1:42.26 overcome seven competitors to earn the bronze medal.
“Second run felt great and I was able to fix the spots that were giving me trouble,” Dellemann said. “I just waited as I kept moving up. It was a great way to end the first half, and I have to thank Brian for helping me out and a big thanks to the Utah Olympic Park for their hard work throughout the weather.”
Stewart trailed his teammate by 0.11 seconds to finish fourth with a two-run total of 1:42.37. The snow impacted Stewart today, who had to take a third run when the clock failed to record his time in the second heat.
“My second run was awesome,” Stewart said. “I wouldn’t have changed anything. As I crossed the finish line I even said to myself, ‘That’s as good as it gets and the best you can do,’ but I didn’t have a time. The clock never started for my run. It was heartbreaking.”
Stewart was rushed back to the start and he managed to maintain his fourth place position despite the commotion, but was disappointed to not finish in the medals again.
“Right now it stings, but in the end I watched my wife win back to back golds and collected my first Intercontinental Cup podiums, so it’s been a wonderful week on our home track,” Stewart said.
Axel Jungk from Germany was today’s men’s skeleton winner with a total time of 1:41.95. Parsons from Great Britain clocked an aggregate time of 1:42.15 for silver.
U.S. competitor Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) posted two-run totals of 1:41.65 and 1:44.33 to finish 12th and 14th, respectively.
“I was content with my result in the first race,” Santagato said. “I felt like I slid pretty well, but deep down I knew I was capable of a top 10. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch a break in the second race. I can’t even really explain what happened at the start. There was snow blowing up the track and I just couldn’t get the sled going. But hey, it’s all part of the game and sometimes you get the short end of the stick.”
The Intercontinental Cup tour will break for the holiday before reconvening in Igls, Austria from Jan. 5-6. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
Women’s skeleton race #1:
1. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:42.58 (51.45, 51.13); 2. Katharina Heinz (GER) 1:42.60 (51.34, 51.26); 3. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:42.62 (51.32, 51.30);…14. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:44.15 (52.34, 51.81);
Women’s skeleton race #2:
1. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:44.58 (52.07, 52.51); 2. Laura Deas (GBR) 1:44.86 (52.26, 52.60); 3. Lanette Prediger (CAN) 1:44.96 (52.34, 52.62);…8. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:45.30 (52.53, 52.77);
Men’s skeleton race #1:
1. Dominic Parsons (GBR) 1:39.95 (50.13, 49.82); 2. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:40.30 (50.21, 50.09); 3. Brad Stewart (USA) 1:40.79 (50.52, 50.27);…12. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:41.65 (50.89, 50.76); 13. Mike Dellemann (USA) 1:41.66 (50.99, 50.67);
Men’s skeleton race #2:
1. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:41.95 (50.77, 51.18); 2. Dominic Parsons (GBR) 1:42.15 (50.51, 51.64); 3. Mike Dellemann (USA) 1:42.26 (51.28, 50.98); 4. Brad Stewart (USA) 1:42.37 (50.98, 51.39);…14. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:44.33 (52.48, 51.85);
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, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.