Rookie women’s bobsled team posts respectable finishes on tough Olympic track
WHISTLER, British Columbia (Nov. 23, 2012)- The U.S. women’s bobsled team finished 9-10-11 in their first event together on the challenging 2010 Olympic course. Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) were the top U.S. finishers in their first competitive event at the Whistler Sliding Centre, while Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Lolo Jones (Des Moines, Iowa) matched the start record in their second run to mark their names in the history books. Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) posted a respectable total time to finish 11th.
“I am definitely proud of the team,” said women’s bobsled head coach Todd Hays. “They conquered an extremely tough track, probably the toughest in the world, in a very short amount of time. I’m happy with the results. We got good points and experience for next year.”
Despite just meeting the Whistler track for the first time this week, Fenlator and Eberling attacked off the starting block with pushes of 5.28 and 5.20 seconds for runs of 55.39 and 55.34 seconds, respectively. The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Foundation sled crossed the finish line in 1:50.73 for ninth place.
Meyers and Jones blasted the KOA sled off the block in 5.11 seconds in the final heat to tie the start record set by gold medalist Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Jones, a two-time Olympic hurdler, competed in only her second bobsled World Cup event tonight.
“Our push athletes attacked the track with total reckless abandonment and wanted to win under any circumstance,” Hays said. “It was certainly impressive. We know they are great athletes, and they are turning into great bobsledders.”
The last time Meyers was on the Whistler course she was pushing Erin Pac to an Olympic bronze medal. This time she was steering the sled and navigating what has been tagged as the most technical course in the world to a 10th place finish. Meyers and Jones posted the fastest start times of the competition and clocked a total time of 1:50.82.
Greubel made her Whistler debut last season and matched her finish with Azevedo today. The pair teamed in the Sliding for Hope sled for 11th place after crossing the finish in 1:50.90.
“We told our pilots that they are great drivers and that they’ve proved that time and time again,” Hays said. “It’s not any different on a new track, and they were able to execute. There were some times this week that the track was really fast, and they came to the line every time with real intensity. They did a great job, and I can’t be prouder.”
Reigning Olympic champion Humphries teamed with Chelsea Valois to dominate the women’s event with an aggregate time of 1:48.68, but CAN-1 could only come within 0.05 seconds of Meyers and Jones at the start. Fabienne Meyer and Elisabeth Graf from Switzerland were second with a combined time of 1:49.37, while Germans Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker clocked a total time of 1:49.50 for bronze.
Racing continues tomorrow with the men’s skeleton and four-man bobsled events at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. PST, respectively.
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1. Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valois (CAN) 1:48.68 (54.20, 54.48); 2. Fabienne Meyer and Elisabeth Graf (SUI) 1:49.37 (54.61, 54.76); 3. Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker (GER) 1:49.50 (54.72, 54.78);…9. Jazmine Fenlator and Katie Eberling (USA) 1:50.73 (55.39, 55.34); 10. Elana Meyers and Lolo Jones (USA) 1:50.82 (55.32, 55.50); 11. Jamie Greubel and Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:50.90 (55.42, 55.48);