Uhlaender Finishes Fifth in Igls, Austria; Yamada Claims Start Record

Dec. 12, 2008, 11:22 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com


For Immediate Release

December 14, 2008


Uhlaender Finishes Fifth in Igls, Austria;

Yamada Claims Start Record


IGLS, Austria–Women’s skeleton World Cup action continued today on the 1964 Olympic track in Igls, Austria, whereKatie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) was the highest U.S. finisher in fifth against a field of 23 sleds from 12 nations. 


Uhlaender pushed identical start times of 5.49 in the two-heat competition, crossing the final timing eye in 55.32 and 54.89 seconds.  The defending World Cup champion slid into fifth place with a combined time of 1:50.21.


“My push is slowly coming back,” said Uhlaender.  “I needed more time to shake off some of the things I battled with over the summer.  My main goal is to win World Championships this season on my home track in Lake Placid, and I’m using these races to get back into shape and to get my sliding back to where it was last season.”


Uhlaender had knee surgery over the summer, and was also dealing with her father’s diagnosis of cancer, for which he has been undergoing treatment since last spring.  The young American has overcome these obstacles to consistently place in the top six this season.


“I’m having a lot of fun sliding right now,” said Uhlaender.  “Everything will come together for me during World Championships.  My dad is doing a lot better, and he’ll be in Lake Placid, so I have a lot to look forward to.”


Great Britain’s Shelley Rudman, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, was victorious today with a two-heat combined time of 1:49.75.  Rudman, who returned to competition this season after having a child with defending World Cup champion Kristan Bromley, slid runs of 55.10 and 54.65. 


Kerstin Szymkowiak from Germany slid a silver medal performance with a total time of 1:49.83 after sliding runs of 55.16 and 54.67, while Russia’s Svetlana Trunova surprised the field by claiming bronze with a two-run combined time of 1:50.00 (55.11, 54.89).


Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) inked her name into the record books after breaking the start record by five-hundredths of a second in the first heat with a push time of 5.33 seconds. 


“My push felt good, but I didn’t have any idea it was a track record,” said Yamada.  “I was really stoked.  I stayed home this summer to train, which was really good for me to be surrounded by family and friends.  Greg Sand [U.S. skeleton assistant coach] wrote a great program for me to get faster and stronger, and it’s been working well.  I’m really happy and looking forward to breaking more records this season.”


Yamada crossed the finish in 55.52 seconds, and followed up in the second heat with a push time of 5.36 for a run of 55.00.  Yamada slid into eighth place, her highest finish of the season, with a combined time of 1:50.52.


“My start definitely put me in a good position,” said Yamada.  “I had trouble in corner nine in both runs, which seems to be my nemesis on this track.  I’m doing what I can and giving my best with every run I take this year.”


Teammate Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) struggled in the first 30-meters of the course after popping out of the start groove when loading her sled in the first run for a push time of 5.74 seconds.  Pikus-Pace’s sled hit a wall before sliding into a skid entering the first corner, losing precious time on a track where start specialists succeed.


Pikus-Pace crossed the final timing eye in 56.03 seconds, placing her in 17th position after the first run.  The 2007 World Cup champion improved her push with a 5.74 start time in the second heat, and slid to the finish in 55.33 seconds for a combined time of 1:51.36.  Pikus-Pace stood at the finish, watching as her two-run total time moved her up three positions into 14th place. 


To watch the women’s skeleton competition on-demand, please visit www.Universalsports.com.  Universal Sports TV will also offer a one-hour highlight show on Tuesday, Dec. 16th at 8 pm EST.


Complete results of today’s race can be found by visiting the web site for the Fedration Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing at www.fibt.com.  For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or abird@usbsf.com.



1. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:49.75 (55.10, 54.65); 2. Kerstin Szymkowiak (GER) 1:49.83 (55.16, 54.67); 3. Svetlana Trunova (RUS) 1:50.00 (55.11, 54.89);…5. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:50.21 (55.32, 54.89);…8. Courtney Yamada (USA) 1:50.52 (55.52, 55.00);14. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:51.36 (56.03, 55.33);


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, KBC Helmets, Luminox Watch Company and ULU Boots. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project:  Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear, JEGS Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Racing Electronics.  For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.