SKELETON: Uhlaender Claims Third Straight Victory, Continues to Lead World Cup Standing
KOENIGSSEE, Germany-Defending World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) denied the Germans a sweep of the podium by claiming her third consecutive victory today in the women's skeleton World Cup competition in Koenigssee, Germany. After today's win, Uhlaender is 96 points ahead of the field in World Cup standings."It felt amazing,"Uhlaender said."I didn't think I could win today. When I crossed the finish to see my time, it felt like a dream."Bursting off the block with a 5.09 start time, Uhlaender made a statement by sliding a run of 49.59 seconds, fastest of the heat. Sitting second, third and fourth were three Germans, eager to claim gold on their home track. Marion Trott was a close 0.05 seconds from Uhlaender with a time of 49.64 seconds. German teammate Anja Huber was a snug 0.02 seconds from second after sliding a run of 49.66, while Kerstin Juergens sat in fourth after a run of 49.74."The German girls are good friends of mine, and we've been rooting for each other all week,"Uhlaender said."All of us were smiling and happy at the finish, which is what I love so much about this sport."Juergens, the first of the four sliders to take a second run, threw down a run of 49.68 seconds. Juergens watched in the finish as her combined time of 1:39.42 held up to her two teammates. The last slider to descent the track was defending World Cup Champion Uhlaender."This track is a challenge,"Uhlaender said."My goal is to slide and have fun. This is most important on the second run when the pressure is higher. I just want to focus on feeling like a little kid so that I don't care about the times and just let it run."Uhlaender pushed a start time of 5.08 seconds, and slid a second run time of 49.76 seconds, claiming gold with a two-run total of 1:39.35. Although Juergens had the fastest run in the second heat, she finished 0.07 seconds from the American for the silver."For the moment, I think this is her biggest victory yet,"Rettl said."All three Germans were behind Katie on their home track. That's really incredible on this track. I don't know how she does it. As soon as she is on the sled, she lets it run. I don't know anyone else who can do this."Trott took bronze with a total time of 1:39.49 after a second run of 49.85. Huber finished fourth, just 0.04 seconds from the podium, with a combined time of 1:39.53. Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) finished 12th today after consistent runs 50.66 and 50.63 for a combined time of 1:41.29. Yamada pushed a 5.14 and 5.12, sixth and fifth fastest of the competition, respectively. Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) sat in 17th position after pushing a start time of 5.12 seconds for a run of 50.72 in the first heat. O'Shea had trouble at the start in the second heat after popping the groove, pushing a time of 5.12 seconds. After trying a more aggressive line in the corner kreisel, O'Shea had difficulty at the exit, coming off her sled."Annie should still be proud today,"Rettl said."She was taking a chance in the kreisel, and she is trying new things. I am proud that she took the risk to go faster. She is a young slider, and she has a very strong future in this sport."O'Shea will vie for the Junior World Championship title next week in Igls, Austria before rejoining the team for World Championships in Altenberg, Germany. The next and final stop on the World Cup tour will be in Winterberg, Germany from Feb. 4-10, where Uhlaender will look to reclaim her World Cup title."I want the title again,"Uhlaender said."Winterberg, here I come."Uhlaender leads World Cup standings with 1470 points, with Canada's Michelle Kelly 96 points behind with 1374 points. Mellisa Hollingsworth of Canada is third with 1266 points, followed by Juergins, 1259; Carla Pavan of Canada, 1170; and Huber, 1164. Don't miss the action LIVE and On-Demand on NBCOlympics.com, courtesy of MediaZone. Check out the races for only $4.99, and find out more about bobsled, skeleton and luge, the fastest sports on ice. 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: 1. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:39.35 (49.59, 49.76); 2. Kerstin Juergins (GER) 1:39.42 (49.74, 49.68); 3. Marion Trott (GER) 1:39.49 (49.64, 49.85);_12. Courtney Yamada (USA) 1:41.29 (50.66, 50.63); Annie O'Shea (USA) (50.72, DNF); 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, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.