Daly and Ellis Claim Gold in Igls, Austria European Cup

Dec. 23, 2008, 9:52 a.m. (ET)
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com

For Immediate Release
December 23, 2008

Daly and Ellis Claim Gold in Igls, Austria European Cup

IGLS, Austria- The final European Cup stop before the holiday break was held in Igls, Austria on Sunday, December 21st, where three races were held in three runs on one day.  Igls was scheduled for three races, one on Saturday and two on Sunday, but inclement weather led to a cancellation of the competition on Saturday.  In order to reschedule make-up races, the jury decided to run all three races on Sunday, each consisting of one heat. 

John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) continues to lead the U.S. team, and finished the first half of the season ranked third out of 54 sleds in the European Cup circuit after finishing sixth and first in Igls. 

"Coming home with so many medals is great," said Daly.  "The first half went really well, and ending it with a first place gives me a lot of momentum going into the second half."

In the first race, Daly sprinted off the starting block in 5.01 seconds, fastest of the competition, for a run of 55.54, placing him in sixth. 

Sebastian Haupt from Germany slid the fastest heat of the competition, a 55.00, for the gold.  Austria's Markus Penz claimed silver on his home track with a run of 55.25, while Steffen Rothacker from Germany finished with the bronze medal after crossing the finish line in 55.42 seconds.

U.S. slider 
Luke Schulz (Davenport, N.D.), who is sliding the European tracks for the first time in his career, finished tenth with a run of 55.69 seconds.  Schulz continues to be a threat with his powerful starts, pushing a time of 5.07 seconds.

"This is only my second season sliding, and I'm still struggling with consistency," said Schulz.  "With a second run, I would have been able to move up in the field.  My first run was no where close to how I had been performing during training."

Daly and Schulz split the races on Sunday with 
Kevin Ellis (Dallas, Texas), who returned to competition this season after a devastating back injury following the 2006 Olympics.  Ellis made a strong statement in the second race, bursting off the block with a start time of 4.99 seconds for a run of 54.82 to claim gold. 

"The U.S. team really has the best pushers on the European Cup tour, and I think Kevin, Luke and I all proved that on Sunday with our start times," said Daly.  "That proved to be a big advantage on a track like Igls, which has a flat start."

Canadian John Fairbairn finished second with a run of 54.91, with Haupt close behind in third after sliding a second heat time of 54.93 seconds.

Schulz slid another top ten performance, finishing ninth after a start time of 5.04 and a finish time of 55.46 seconds.  Schulz capped off the first half of the season ranked 13th out of 54 sleds.

"Sliding on these European tracks has taught me how to be a lot quieter on my sled, and that will help me to become a much better slider," said Schulz.  "I look forward to coming back to Europe for the second half, and to putting the knowledge I've gained to use."

In the third competition on Sunday, Daly convincingly claimed gold after finishing with the fastest start and finish time of the heat, a 4.98 and 54.48, respectively.

"I competed in the first and third race, so I had a four hour gap in between runs to think about what needed to be changed and what could be done better," said Daly.

Haupt won his third medal of the day, silver, with a run of 54.76.  Fairbairn finished third after crossing the final timing eye in 54.77 seconds. 

Ellis slid his final run of the day, and finished seventh after pushing a 4.99 start time for a run of 54.97 seconds. 

In the women's competitions, 
Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) and Cassie Revelli (Highland, Utah) represented the U.S., and finished the first half of the tour ranked 13th and 14th, respectively out of 27 sleds. 

"It's been a really great first half, and I'm stoked for my first experiences sliding and racing in Europe," said Gabryszak.  "The field is pretty competitive, with a lot of relatively close results."

Gabryszak pushed a start time of 5.77 seconds for a run of 57.63, placing her eighth in the first race.

Elena Yudina from Russia claimed gold in 56.68 seconds, while Germany's Tina Hermann finished with the silver medal with a run of 57.05.  German teammate Sarah Sartor claimed the final medal in the first race with a time of 57.11 seconds.  

Revelli matched Gabryszak's push time of 5.77, and slid to the finish in 57.98 seconds for 12th.

"I was here last season for Junior World Championships, and I couldn't find a rhythm on this track," said Revelli.  "I had good runs in the race, so I feel like I learned a lot last week."

Revelli jumped up one position in the second race to finish 11th with a push time of 5.77 and a finish time of 57.40 seconds.  Gabryszak finished 14th after crossing the final timing eye in 57.60 seconds. 

Yudina slid the fastest run again to claim her second gold medal with a run of 56.29.  Sartor moved up to finish second after sliding a time of 56.67 seconds, while Maria Marinela Mazilu from Romania slid a run of 56.77 for the bronze. 

Gabryszak repeated her eighth place finish in the third and final competition of the day after improving her start time with a 5.64 push for a run of 57.13 seconds. 

"Only having one run for a race result puts a lot of pressure on you," said Gabryszak.  "You can always climb in place in the second run, but there's only one shot with this kind of format."

Revelli struggled with the wet conditions in the final heat on Sunday, and finished 16th after sliding a run of 57.93 seconds. 

"The three runs, three races format is a bit tough," said Revelli.  "With such a big racing field, you have so much time between runs that you can't predict what the track conditions will be run to run."

Yudina claimed her third-consecutive gold medal with a run of 56.00, with Hermann close behind in second after sliding 56.24 seconds.  Germany's Sophia Griebel finished with the third fastest run of the race, a 56.46, for the bronze.

The European Cup circuit will resume after the holiday break from Jan. 18-15th in St. Mortiz, Switzerland. Complete results from Sunday's competition can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation 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


Men's Race #1:
1. Sebastian Haupt (GER) 55.00; 2. Markus Penz (AUT) 55.25; 3. Steffen Rothacker (GER) 55.42;...6. John Daly (USA) 55.54;...10. Luke Shulz (USA) 55.69;

Men's Race #2:
1. Kevin Ellis (USA) 54.82; 2. John Fairbairn (CAN) 54.91; 3. Sebastian Haupt (GER) 54.93;...9. Luke Schulz (USA) 55.46;

Men's Race #3:
1. John Daly (USA) 54.48; 2. Sebastian Haupt (GER) 54.76; 3. John Fairbairn (CAN) 54.77;...7. Kevin Ellis (USA) 54.97;

Women's Race #1:
1. Elena Yudina (RUS) 56.68; 2. Tina Hermann (GER) 57.05; 3. Sarah Sartor (GER)2057.11;...8. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 57.63;...12. Cassie Revelli (USA) 57.98;

Women's Race #2:
1. Elena Yudina (RUS) 56.29; 2. Sarah Sartor (GER) 56.67; 3. Maria Marinela Mazilu (ROU) 56.77;...11. Cassie Revelli (USA) 57.40; 14. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 57.60;

Women's Race #3:
1. Elena Yudina (RUS) 56.00; 2. Tina Hermann (GER) 56.24; 3. Sophia Griebel (GER) 56.46;...8. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 57.13;...16. Cassie Revelli (USA) 57.93;

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