Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Antoine earns bronze to break medal drought
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 21, 2012)–After six fourth-place finishes over the last three seasons, Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) finally cracked into the top three with a bronze medal performance in the men’s skeleton World Cup race this morning. John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) finished sixth and eighth, respectively, to place all three U.S. competitors in the top 10 for one of the most successful results for the team in years.
“This was a pretty huge day for the entire team,” Antoine said. “The morale is high and we’re all in a positive mood, so we hope to keep working and building on this result. We worked together really well this week by sharing information and supporting one another, and I’m really happy for our team.”
The last time any U.S. men’s competitor medaled was in 2009, when Eric Bernotas won the Igls, Austria race, and it’s been three years since Antoine claimed his first career World Cup medal in Whistler, Canada. Since then, Antoine has been continually on the cusp of the top three.
Antoine clocked a first run of 1:09.73 for third position behind Latvian Martins Dukurs and New Zealander Ben Sandford. Dukurs had a massive lead of 0.85 seconds, but Antoine was within striking distance of silver.
“After the first run I thought, ‘I can’t finish fourth again today,’” Antoine said. “I struggled with the top of the track during training, and I knew I could maintain my spot if I could nail it.”
Antoine posted a start of 5.01 seconds and smoothly loaded his sled in the second heat. He threaded together yet another flawless run to maintain his bronze medal position with a cumulative time of 2:19.27.
“Finally,” Antoine said with relief. “That’s the first thing I thought when I crossed the finish. I think it’ll be easier to maintain this now throughout the season, and I really think today was a breakthrough for all of us.”
Dukurs dominated by 1.76 seconds with a two-run total of 2:17.45 for his fifth victory this season. Sandford laid down a great second run to stay just 0.06 seconds ahead of Antoine with a total time of 2:19.21.
Daly was about half a second off his teammate’s pace to finish with a season best sixth place. Daly’s had a string of bad luck since he was disqualified in the first race for not wearing a start bib, and finally feels like his fortune is turning around.
“I finally caught a break,” Daly said. “It’s been a rough season and I finally had a fair shake. We all did well today, and I think this was a turning point going into World Championships.”
Daly slid runs of 1:10.17 and 1:09.85 for a combined time of 2:20.02. His best season result was 14th in Winterberg, Germany, but his career best result was fifth in St. Moritz last year. The 2010 Olympian was excited to return to the natural made course.
“I love it here,” Daly. “I knew I could slide well here, and I honestly didn’t prepare any differently for this race than I have for any race this season. It definitely feels good to be back in the mix.”
U.S. competitor Tress slid a career best finish today after posting a combined time of 2:20.11 for 8th. The 30-year-old put together runs of 1:10.47 and 1:09.64 to clock his first World Cup top 10 finish.
“I needed that,” Tress said. “I felt like I was flying through the woods and didn’t allow myself to worry about the outcome. Everywhere we’ve been I’ve been fast in training, but there was something missing from race day. I knew I had speed, so I just reminded myself of that and didn’t feel any pressure going into today’s race.”
The team is satisfied with their breakthrough performances in the final European race of the World Cup tour, and eagerly looking forward to returning to North America. The season will conclude next month in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the U.S. team is expected to medal on home ice.
The men’s two-man bobsled competition takes place this afternoon before the final European World Cup race of the season wraps up tomorrow morning with the men’s four-man bobsled race. Watch the St. Moritz events LIVE by visiting www.fibt.com. Universal Sports will also broadcast the events with commentary and interviews on one-week delay. Programs will air Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 6 pm EST.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 2:17.45 (1:08.87, 1:08.58); 2. Ben Sandford (NZL) 2:19.21 (1:09.72, 1:09.49); 3. Matt Antoine (USA) 2:17.45 (1:08.87, 1:08.58);…6. John Daly (USA) 2:20.02 (1:10.17, 1:09.85);…8. Kyle Tress (USA) 2:20.11 (1:10.47, 1:09.64);
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.