SKELETON: U.S. Claims Bronze in World Cup Team Competition in Koenigssee, Germany
KOENIGSSEE, Germany-Six nations battled for the gold today in the World Cup team event in Koenigssee, Germany. The U.S. combined forces for a third place finish with a four-run combined total of 3:21.37. Each nation chooses an athlete to take one run in each of the four disciplines of men's skeleton, women's bobsled, women's skeleton and men's two-man bobsled. The nation with the lowest combined time over the four heats wins the team event. Germany won the team event on their home track with a total time of 3:19.86. Racing for the team event was Michi Halilovic in men's skeleton, Cathleen Martini and Enga Renker in women's bobsled, Julia Eihhorn in women's skeleton, and the team of Thomas Florschuetz and Christoph Heyder in men's bobsled. Taking silver was Switzerland with a four-run total of 3:20.45. Dani Maechler slid in the men's skeleton heat, Maya Bamert and Marina Gilardoni competed in women's bobsled, Jessica Killian for women's skeleton, and the SUI I sled of Ivo Rueegg and Tommy Herzog slid for men's bobsled. The U.S. raced their junior team in all disciplines in preparation for the Junior World Championships in Igls, Austria next week. The race for the bronze medal came down to the last sleds between the U.S. and Russia. Men's skeleton athlete Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.), who recently won the 2007 Intercontinental Cup title, was the first U.S. team member to start. Making his World Cup debut, Antoine battled some of the world's toughest competitors down the difficult course for a time of 49.05 seconds, 0.81 seconds behind the"Russian Rocket"Alexander Tretiakov, who broke his own start record in the men's skeleton competition yesterday. 2007 America's Cup Champion Jamia Jackson (Lake City, Fla.) teamed with Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) for her fourth World Cup race today, finishing with a time of 51.61 seconds. The Russian team of Victoria Tokovaya and Elana Doronia slid a time of 52.13 seconds, bringing the American team closer to the podium. Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.), 2007 America's Cup Champion in women's skeleton, stood nervously at the start before taking her run. O'Shea had a spectacular crash out of the corner Kreisel in the women's skeleton World Cup competition on Friday, but was not injured. The young American sped to the finish with a time of 50.58 seconds, third fastest in the women's skeleton heat. O'Shea's time was 0.32 seconds faster than Russia's Olga Korobkina, bringing the U.S. team 0.03 seconds ahead of the Russians leading into the final heat. The bronze medal would be decided in the final run. John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) teamed with Chuck Berkeley (Clayton, Calif.) in men's bobsled. The Russian team waited anxiously at the finish after their men's bobsled team of Dmitry Abramovitch and Sergey Prudnikov slid a run of 50.11. Napier and Berkeley pushed the second fastest push time of the heat, a 5.01, and slid to the finish in 50.13 seconds. Both teams held their breath waiting for the combined time to flash on the clock before the U.S. team screamed in victory, claiming bronze by only 0.01 seconds over the Russians. The next team competition will be held at World Championships in Altenberg, Germany on Feb. 18 at 8:30 am EST. Check out the excitement LIVE on NBCOlympics.com. 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. Halilovic, Martini and Renker, Eichhorn, Florschuetz and Heyder (GER) 3:19.86; 2. Maechler, Bamert and Gilardoni, Killian, Rueegg and Herzog (SUI) 3:20.45; 3. Antoine, Jackson and Azevedo, O'Shea, Napier and Berkeley (USA) 3:21.37; 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.