IGLS, Austria - The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) today announced the athletes who will represent the United States in the women’s and men’s skeleton events at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All U.S. Olympic Team nominations are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) earned the two women’s spots. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.), John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) qualified for the three available men’s positions.
“The quality of this skeleton Olympic Team is amazing,” said USBSF CEO Darrin Steele. “Anything can happen at the Games, so we take nothing for granted. But if these five athletes give their best, any one of them is capable of bringing home a medal.”
Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender situated themselves as Olympic medal favorites after finishing 1-2, respectively, during the Sochi test event last February. Pikus-Pace solidified herself as a gold medal contender by collecting six medals this season, three of them gold. Uhlaender has spent the majority of the season battling back from an injury sustained during a training run in October, but she’s developed a reputation as one of the most resilient athletes on tour and is always a threat for the podium.
Antoine has a had a breakthrough season, collecting three medals this season, including his first career World Cup victory in Lake Placid, N.Y. He may be one of only a few elite athletes in the world that can challenge Latvian Martins Dukurs for gold in Sochi. Daly showed promise after finishing on the cusp of the medals in Sochi last year with a fourth place finish, and Tress has had a season filled with personal bests that helped him qualify a third sled for the U.S.
Per International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation rules, nations were allocated spots based on rank in international points following seven competitions during the 2013-2014 season. The U.S. was one of only three nations that qualified to enter the maximum of three entrants in the men’s discipline. Only the top two nations in women’s skeleton were allocated three athletes, and the U.S. was one of four countries to qualify two. A total of 30 men and 20 women will compete in the 2014 Olympic skeleton events.
The Olympic skeleton events will be held in a four-heat format over two days of racing. The women will race Feb. 13-14, while the men will compete Feb. 14-15.