BOBSLED: U.S. Team Claims 16 Medals in Lake Placid America's Cup Finale
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.-The U.S. bobsled and skeleton team claimed 16 medals in the America's Cup finale this weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y. Competition began on Thursday, April 3 and concluded on Saturday, April 5 at the Olympic Sports Complex, with each of the five disciplines competing in two races each. Women's Skeleton Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) returned to the ice this weekend in Lake Placid, continuing her journey for Olympic gold. Pikus-Pace was favored to win gold in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games before her dreams were shattered in a freak accident that broke her leg just months prior to Opening Ceremonies. Despite being told she wouldn't even be able to walk for several months, Pikus-Pace was back on the World Cup circuit seven weeks after the accident. Unfortunately, Pikus-Pace would have to wait four more years for her chance at Olympic gold after the U.S. team was unable to qualify for a second spot on the women's skeleton Olympic Team. Undeterred, Pikus-Pace returned to the World Cup tour in 2006-07 and made history as the first American woman to win the World Championship title."After the accident I knew I needed a break, but first I needed to get back on my sled,"Pikus-Pace said."I felt like I had proved to myself that I was one of the best in the world after winning World Championships, and I knew it was finally time to take a year off."Pikus-Pace took the 2007-08 season off to welcome her first child, daughter Lacee Lynne Pace, into the world on January 19, 2008."Having Lacee was such a blessing, and she's brought so much love into our lives. Now that I'm back on the ice, I'm having so much fun. I'm hungry for the sport again, and I can't wait to compete again next season."Pikus-Pace won bronze in the first women's skeleton competition on Friday, April 4. Despite being the last sled to descend the mountain in snowy conditions in the first heat, Pikus-Pace was able to climb into fourth position with a time of 56.86. Relaxed and giggling at the start, Pikus-Pace slid the fastest run of the second heat, a 57.16, for a combined time of 1:54.02. Current World Champion Anja Huber from Germany claimed gold with a total time of 1:53.58 after sliding runs of 56.40 and 57.18, with teammate Marion Trott closely behind in second with a two-run total of 1:53.73 (56.27, 57.46). Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) made her World Cup debut this year, finishing with two impressive top-ten results. O'Shea proved she'll be a threat next season, finishing fifth against a competitive field of Olympic medalists and World Champions on Friday with a combined time of 1:54.52 after sliding runs of 56.61 and 57.91. U.S. teammate and Intercontinental Cup slider Rebecca Sorensen (Fort Collins, Colo.) rounded out the top six after sliding runs of 56.98 and 57.74 for a total time of 1:54.72. Sorensen powered off the starting block with the fourth fastest push times of the competition, a 5.52 and 5.48. On Saturday, April 5, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Shelley Rudman from Great Britain claimed the gold medal. Rudman also took time off this season to welcome her first child, daughter Ella Bromley, with partner Kristan Bromley, who claimed both the 2008 World Cup and World Championship titles in men's skeleton this season. Rudman slid the fastest times of the competition, a 57.95 and 58.43, for a combined time of 1:56.38. Pikus-Pace was close behind for the silver medal, finishing with a two-run total of 1:56.96 after sliding runs 58.05 and 58.61, while World Champion Huber was third with a combined time of 1:56.96 after runs of 57.98 and 58.98. O'Shea was in the mix, finishing fourth with a two-run total of 1:57.32 (58.72, 58.60). Pikus-Pace raced in the guest class, so she will not receive points for her results. Men's Skeleton The U.S. team claimed four of the top six positions in the first America's Cup men's skeleton competition on Friday, April 4. John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) contributed two gold medals to the overall count after sweeping the America's Cup finale. Daly pushed a 5.02 on Friday for a first run time of 55.24 seconds, putting him just 0.04 seconds behind Olympian Sebastian Haupt from Germany. Pushing a start of 5.00 in the second heat, Daly slid a time of 56.29 seconds, moving him into the lead for the gold with a combined time of 1:51.53. World Cup slider Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) matched Daly's second run time of 56.29 seconds, moving him up one position for the silver medal with a two-run total of 1:51.72 after a first run of 55.43 seconds. Haupt finished third with a total time of 1:51.88 after runs of 55.20 and 56.68."I feel like things are coming together for me,"Daly said."I was pumped after the first win, especially since I was competing against some of the fastest guys in the world."Intercontinental Cup Champion Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) raced to the finish in fourth place with a combined time of 1:52.16 after sliding runs of 55.61 and 56.55 in his last competition of the season on Friday. Teammate Chris Burgess (Glen Gardner, N.J.) finished sixth on Friday with a total time of 1:52.71 (55.77, 56.93), helping the U.S. team claim four of the top six results. Daly repeated his gold medal performance on Saturday, April 5 with the two fastest runs of the competition, a 56.55 and 56.86, for a combined time of 1:53.41."This is a great way to end a season, and I hope I can carry this momentum through the summer into team trials next fall,"Daly said."Germany's Frank Rommel finished 1.09 seconds behind Daly for the silver medal with a total time of 1:54.50 (57.06, 57.44). Burgess slid to a bronze medal finish on Saturday after sliding the fifth and third fastest runs of the competition, a 57.53 and 57.48, respectively, for a two-run total of 1:55.01. Intercontinental Cup slider Kyle Tress (Trenton, N.J.) finished sixth with a combined time of 1:55.92. Tress burst off the block with a start time of 5.00 seconds for a run of 57.44 in the first heat, and pushed the fastest time of the competition, 4.97, for a second run time of 58.48 seconds. Returning to competition this weekend for the first time since suffering a severe back injury only a few days after racing in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games was Kevin Ellis (Dallas, Texas). Ellis is known for breaking start records around the globe, and proved that he will once again be a threat by pushing times consistently below five-seconds throughout the week. While tweaking and testing equipment, Ellis finished 15th and 13th, respectively, this weekend. Women's Bobsled The U.S. claimed four medals in the America's Cup women's bobsled competition, which began on Thursday, April 3 and concluded on Friday, April 4. World Cup athletes Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) and Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) teamed together for a silver medal on Thursday. The duo powered off the starting block with the two fastest start times of the competition, a 5.60 and 5.62. Pac drove the team to the finish with a total time of 1:56.78 after runs of 58.18 and 58.60. Olympian Helen Upperton from Canada teamed with Sabrina Notarangelo for the gold with a total time of 1:55.76. Team Canada pushed identical start times of 5.79 seconds for runs of 57.98 and 57.78. Local athlete Phoebe Burns (Lake Placid, N.Y.) teamed with World Cup push athlete Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.) for the bronze medal on Thursday. Burns, who splits her time between sliding and Simply Gourmet, a sandwich shop she owns in Lake Placid, slid a total time of 1:57.27 with Rzepka. The team pushed start times of 5.94 and 5.95 for runs of 58.61 and 58.66, respectively. Upperton and Notarangelo swept the podium by winning again on Friday with a combined time of 1:57.09. Team Canada pushed times of 5.82 and 5.81 for runs of 58.39 and 58.70, respectively, to claim gold. Burns and Rzepka claimed silver with a total time of 1:58.11 after sliding the second fastest times in the two-heat race, a 58.78 and 59.33. Former World Cup skeleton athlete Bree Schaaf Boyer (Bremerton, Wash.) made the transition to driving a bobsled in Lake Placid during a driver's school last spring, and finished her first full season as a bobsled athlete during the America's Cup finale in Lake Placid."We have an unbelievable women's bobsled coaching staff,"Schaaf Boyer said."It was a lot of fun being able to drive a bobsled on tracks that I've taken hundreds of skeleton runs on, and I enjoyed the different perspective."Schaaf Boyer teamed with World Cup push athlete Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) for start times of 5.81 and 5.82, first and second fastest on Friday, respectively. The duo slid to the finish with a combined time of 1:58.95 after runs of 59.41 and 59.54 for the bronze medal. Men's Bobsled Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, swept the men's bobsled podium this weekend, contributing four gold medals to the overall count. Kohn claimed his first gold in the men's two-man race on Friday, April 3 with brakeman TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.). Kohn and Burns pushed start times of 5.29 and 5.28 for runs of 55.99 and 56.61, respectively. Sliding to the finish with a two-run total of 1:52.60, Kohn edged out Monoco's Patrice Servelle for the gold by only 0.03 seconds. Servelle teamed with Sebastien Gattuso for the silver medal after runs of 56.20 and 56.43 for a combined time of 1:52.63. Considering taking another shot at Olympic gold, Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) came out of retirement to compete in the men's bobsled guest class. Hays teamed with Alex Sprague (Indianapolis, Ind.) for a bronze medal finish on Thursday with a total time of 1:52.68. Hays and Sprague pushed identical start times of 5.26 in both heats for runs of 56.30 and 56.38. Grayson Fertig (New York City, N.Y.) teamed with Cory Butner (Xucaipa, Calif.) to finish fourth with a combined time of 1:53.19 after pushing start times of 5.25 and 5.28 for runs of 56.43 and 56.76, respectively. Curt Tomasevicz (Lincoln, Nebraska) won a medal of every color in two-man World Cup competition this season as a push athlete with driver Steven Holcomb, and is known as one of the fastest push athletes on tour. Tomasevicz began driving bobsled in a driver's school in Lake Placid last spring, and spent a portion of his season driving in America's Cup races. Tomasevicz teamed with one of the newest and strongest push athletes on the World Cup team, Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.). The duo powered off the block with the two fastest start times of the race on Thursday, pushing a 5.20 and 5.15 for runs of 56.93 and 57.08, respectively. Tomasevicz and Langton finished in fifth place, helping the U.S. secure four sleds in the top six results. Kohn won his second gold medal in the final two-man bobsled race on Friday, April 4 with a combined time of 1:53.35. Burns and Kohn pushed start times of 5.29 and 5.28 for runs of 56.09 and 57.26, respectively. Hays and Sprague finished just 0.02 seconds from Kohn on Friday for the silver medal with a total time of 1:53.37 after runs of 56.26 and 57.11. Hays and Sprague pushed times of 5.21 and 5.22, third and second fastest of the day, respectively. Servelle and Gattuso from Monaco claimed bronze with a two-run total of 1:53.98 (56.22, 57.76). Ferig and Butner finished fifth with a combined time of 1:54.44 after sliding runs of 56.64 and 57.91, while Ivan Radcliff (Park City, Utah) and Jim Carriel (Park City, Utah) teamed together to finish sixth after runs of 57.17 and 58.03 for a total time of 1:55.20. Kohn continued his domination by winning the first four-man competition on Friday, April 4 with a combined time of 1:50.59. Kohn teamed with Tomasevicz, Burns and Langton for the fastest start times of the competition, a 5.24 and 5.21. Kohn maintained their speed down the mountain, crossing the finish line with the fastest times of the race, a 55.4 and 55.45. Fertig teamed with Butner, Brian Spickler (Indiana, Pa.) and Hoy Thurman (Warner Robins, Ga.) for the silver medal. The team pushed identical starts times of 5.31 for runs of 55.37 and 55.56 for a combined time of 1:50.93. In third with a combined time of 1:52.02 was Hays teamed with Radcliff, Jay Noller (San Antonio, Texas) and Theron Johnson (Rockville, Md.). Hays and crew pushed times of 5.35 and 5.40 for runs of 55.93 and 56.09, respectively. The America's Cup tour concluded on Saturday, April 5 with the final men's four-man bobsled race. Kohn claimed his fourth and final medal of the weekend with a total time of 1:51.56 after sliding runs of 55.93 and 55.63. Kohn and team of Tomasevicz, Burns and Langton once again dominated the competition, pushing the fastest times of the day in both heats of identical 5.17 seconds. Fertig, Butner, Spickler and Thurman claimed silver with a combined time of 1:52.00 after pushing times of 5.26 and 5.27 for runs of 56.04 and 55.96, respectively. Japan's Hiroshi Suzuki took bronze with a total time of 1:53.44 (56.60, 56.84). For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: Women's Skeleton Race #1: 1. Anja Huber (GER) 1:53.58 (56.40, 57.18); 2. Marion Trott (GER) 1:53.73 (56.27, 57.46); 3. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:54.02 (56.86, 57.16); 4. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:54.38 (56.87, 57.51); 5. Annie O'Shea (USA) 1:54.52 (56.61, 57.91); 6. Rebecca Sorensen (USA) 1:54.72 (56.98, 57.74);_15. Cassie Revelli (USA) 1:56.48 (57.87, 58.61);_17. Audrey Thompson (USA) 1:57.16 (58.29, 58.87);_23. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) (59.37, DNS); Women's Skeleton Race #2: 1. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:56.38 (57.95, 58.43); 2. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:56.96 (58.05, 58.61); 3. Anja Huber (GER) 1:56.96 (57.98, 58.98); 4. Annie O'Shea (USA) 1:57.32 (58.72, 58.60);...9. Rebecca Sorensen (USA) 1:58.46 (58.69, 59.77);...17. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 2:00.27 (1:00.10, 1:00.17); 18. Audrey Thompson (USA) 2:00.28 (59.61, 1:00.67);...20. Cassie Revelli (USA) 2:01.21 (1:00.22, 1:00.99); Men's Skeleton Race #1: 1. John Daly (USA) 1:51.53 (55.24, 56.29); 2. Caleb Smith (USA) 1:51.72 (55.43, 56.29); 3. Sebastian Haupt (GER) 1:51.88 (55.20, 56.68); 4. Matt Antoine (USA) 1:52.16 (55.61, 56.55);_6. Chris Burgess (USA) 1:52.70 (55.77, 56.93); 7. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:53.09 (56.02, 57.07);_15. Kevin Ellis (USA) 1:54.65 (56.80, 57.85);_19. Chris Nurre (USA) 1:55.37 (57.51, 57.86); Men's Skeleton Race #2: 1. John Daly (USA) 1:53.41 (56.55, 56.86); 2. Frank Rommel (GER) 1:54.50 (57.06, 57.44); 3. Chris Burgess (USA) 1:55.01 (57.53, 57.48);...6. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:55.92 (57.44, 58.48);...13. Kevin Ellis (USA) 1:56.72 (58.47, 58.25); 14. Chris Nurre (USA) 1:56.76 (58.25, 58.51); Women's Bobsled Race #1: 1. Helen Upperton and Sabrina Notarangelo (CAN) 1:55.76 (57.98, 57.78); 2. Erin Pac and Elana Meyers (USA) 1:56.78 (58.18, 58.60); 3. Phoebe Burns and Michelle Rzepka (USA) 1:57.27 (58.61, 58.66); 4. Bree Schaaf Boyer and Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:57.40 (58.63, 58.77); Women's Bobsled Race #2: 1. Helen Upperson and Sabrina Notarangelo (CAN) 1:57.09 (58.39, 58.70); 2. Phoebe Burns and Michelle Rzepka (USA) 1:58.11 (58.78, 59.33); 3. Bree Schaaf Boyer and Emily Azevedo (USA) 1:58.95 (59.41, 59.54); Men's Two-Man Bobsled Race #1: 1. Mike Kohn and TJ Burns (USA) 1:52.60 (55.99, 56.61); 2. Patrice Servelle and Sebastian Gattuso (MON) 1:52.63 (56.20, 56.43); 3. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 1:52.68 (56.30, 56.38); 4. Grayson Fertig and Cory Butner (USA) 1:53.19 (56.43, 56.76; 5. Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton (USA) 1:54.01 (56.93, 57.08);_8. Ivan Radcliff and Jim Carriel (USA) 1:54.70 (57.23, 57.47);_11. Jon McGee and Casey Turner (USA) 1:55.03 (57.28, 57.75); 12. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie and Ryan Greer (USA) 1:55.23 (57.65, 57.58);_15. Jay Noller and Avian Jordan (USA) 1:56.44 (58.55, 57.89);_17. Mat Anderson and Hoy Thurman (USA) 1:56.74 (58.31, 58.61); Men's Two-Man Bobsled Race #2: 1. Mike Kohn and TJ Burns (USA) 1:53.35 (56.09, 57.26); 2. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 1:53.37 (56.26, 57.11); 3. Patrice Servelle and Sebastian Gattuso (MON) 1:53.98 (56.22, 57.76);...5. Grayson Fertig and Cory Butner (USA) 1:54.55 (56.64, 57.91); 6. Ivan Radcliff and Theron Johnson (USA) 1:55.20 (57.17, 58.03);...9. Jon McGee and Casey Turner (USA) 1:56.02 (57.74, 58.28); 10. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie and Ryan Greer (USA) 1:56.14 (57.86, 58.28);...14. Jay Noller and Avian Jordan (USA) 1:57.40 (58.62, 58.78);...18. Mat Anderson and Hoy Thurman (USA) 1:58.23 (58.80, 59.43); Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton (USA) (58.50, DNF); Men's Four-Man Bobsled Race #1: 1. Kohn, Tomasevicz, Burns and Langton (USA) 1:50.59 (55.14, 55.45); 2. Fertig, Butner, Spickler and Thurman (USA) 1:50.93 (55.37, 55.56); 3. Hays, Radcliff, Noller and Johnson (USA) 1:52.02 (55.93, 56.09);...5. McGee, Jordan, Albrecht-Carrie and Turner (USA) 1:54.10 (57.17, 56.93); Men's Four-Man Bobsled Race #2: 1. Kohn, Tomasevicz, Burns and Langton (USA) 1:51.56 (55.93, 55.63); 2. Fertig, Butner, Spickler and Thurman (USA) 1:52.00 (56.04, 55.96); 3. Suzuki, Doigawa and Kobayashi (JPN) 1:53.44 (56.60, 56.84); 4. McGee, Jordan, Albrecht-Carrie and Turner (USA) 1:53.63 (56.65, 56.98); 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: Allianz Life, Vilter Manufacturing, Columbia Sportswear Company, CW-X, KBC Helmets, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Speedo and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.