BOBSLED: Jackson and Azevedo Finish Fourth in Women's Bobsled Junior World Championships
IGLS, Austria- Jamia Jackson (Lake City, Fla.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) finished fourth in the women's bobsled Junior World Championships in Igls, Austria today, just 0.01 seconds from the bronze."My first run was decent, but I was sloppy on the bottom of the track in the second run, which is where I lost time,"Jackson said."My goal was to perform to the best of my potential today and to see where it got me. I'm ready to shake this off, even though losing the bronze by only one-hundredth of a second today is tough."Jackson, the 2007 America's Cup Champion, made her World Cup debut this season after competing on the first half of the Europa Cup circuit."The Europa Cup season started off slowly, but then I finally got it together,"Jackson said."On the World Cup tour, I knew it would be different racing in an atmosphere where every competitor was competing at a high level. I couldn't afford to make little mistakes."Azevedo sprained her ankle during preseason training this year, but has recovered to make a strong comeback on the World Cup team."My ankle is almost at 100%,"Azevedo said."I'm looking forward to getting my strength back over the summer, so that I can come back even better next year."The young Americans teamed together to push a start time of 5.82 seconds, sixth best of the heat, for a first run time of 54.71 seconds. The duo entered the final heat in third position. Team USA slid a second run time of 55.09 seconds, fifth best of the heat, after pushing a 5.82 start time. Finishing with a combined time of 1:49.80, Jackson and Azevedo slid into fourth place."We had a lot of fun racing today, even though we had hoped for a better result,"Azevedo said."We did the best we could, and that was fourth place today."Russians Anastasia Skulkina and Olga Fedorova finished 0.01 seconds ahead of team USA after sliding a second heat time of 55.03 seconds. Finishing with a combined time of 1:49.79 after a first run of 46.57, team RUS I claimed bronze. Skulkina and Fedorova dominated the start, pushing the two fastest start times of the competition, an identical 5.74 seconds in both heats. Fabienne Meyer and Marina Gilardoni from Switzerland won the women's bobsled Junior World Championship title today by a mere 0.05 seconds. Meyer and Gilardoni slid runs of 54.46 and 54.81 for a total time of 1:49.27 to take the title. In second was Stefanie Szczurek and Patricia Polifka from Germany with a two-run total of 1:49.32 after runs of 54.56 and 54.76. Team USA will rejoin the World Cup team for World Championships in Altenberg, Germany from Feb. 15-16. Jackson will have the most experience driving the difficult German track of the U.S. drivers after having slid the course last season in Junior World Championships."I'm excited to go back to Altenberg,"Jackson said."I still have to work some things out, but I'm optimistic about World Championships. Right now my eyes are focused on Altenberg."Watch Jackson and Azevedo battle for the World Championship title in Altenberg LIVE and On-Demand 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. Fabienne Meyer and Marina Gilardoni (SUI I) 1:49.27 (54.46, 54.81); 2. Stefanie Szczurek and Patricia Polifka (GER I) 1:49.32 (54.56, 54.76); 3. Anastasia Skulkina and Olga Fedorova (RUS I) 1:49.79 (54.76, 55.03); 4. Jamia Jackson and Emily Azevedo (USA I) 1:49.80 (54.71, 55.09); 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.