SKELETON: Team USA Claims World Championship Bronze
ALTENBERG, Germany-U.S. athletes claimed the World Championship bronze medal in the team competition today in Altenberg, Germany. Despite a cloudy sky and dense fog, the atmosphere was vibrant as each nation gathered together to root for their teammates as they descended the difficult course. The team with the lowest total time over four heats in four disciplines was crowned World Champion. Each nation selects an athlete to slide in men's skeleton, women's bobsled, women's skeleton and men's bobsled for a four-run combined time."This event is a lot of fun,"said Steven Holcomb, who was selected to drive in the two-man bobsled heat for the U.S."Everyone is in the start house watching the runs on the T.V., cheering and screaming. It's a friendly, happy atmosphere. Usually bobsledding is serious, so it's nice to have an event like this that all of us can enjoy as a team."Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) was the first athlete to slide for the U.S., competing in the men's skeleton heat. After only two training runs on the tricky 17-curve course, Lund burst off the block with a start time of 5.39 seconds for a run of 59.62 seconds. Sliding the fastest run of the heat, Lund gave the U.S. team a 0.12 second lead."The team event is a lot of fun, I really love it,"Lund said."It's a fun atmosphere, and the team camaraderie makes it a great experience. Considering this was only my third run and it was in a race situation, I'm pretty happy with the result."Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) teamed with veteran Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) for the women's bobsled heat. The duo pushed a start time of 6.04 seconds and maintained the third fastest speed until a small mistake in the corner Kreisel. Pac made a superb driving correction, navigating the sled to the finish in 1:00.07 seconds."I love it,"Pac said."I feel lucky to have had the chance to compete today. This event is a lot of fun."World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) competed in the women's skeleton heat, pushing a 5.94 for a run of 1:02.22. As the 2007 World Championship bronze medalist brought the U.S. closer to the podium, her teammates cheered and waved, dancing at the finish."This is definitely good preparation for the race this weekend,"Uhlaender said."I'm learning a lot each run. This is super fun, and I wish we had more team competitions."The bronze medal would be decided in the final heat between the U.S. and Great Britain. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) teamed together for their final two-man bobsled race run of the season, pushing a time of 5.53 for a run of 57.16. The U.S. team stood together at the finish as John Johnson and Jamie Devlin from Great Britain took their run. By the time the British team reached the third interval, their splits were already behind the U.S. Embracing each other to rejoice, the U.S. team shouted in celebration as they claimed World Championship bronze by 0.44 seconds with a four-run combined time of 3:59.07."It's a relief to have the two-man season over,"Holcomb said."I finished fourth overall in two-man standings, which isn't too bad, but it's nice to finish on a high note with a World Championship medal."Germany claimed the World Championship title on their home track by 1.78 seconds with a combined time of 3:57.20. Sebastian Haupt slid his skeleton heat in 59.74, while women's bobsled World Champion Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker slid a run of 58.89. Anja Huber had the fastest time in women's skeleton of 1:01.85, while Matthias Hoepfner and Alexander Mann slid the fastest heat for men's two-man bobsled 56.72 seconds. Team Canada claimed the silver medal with a total time of 3:58.98. Jon Montgomery struggled in the men's skeleton heat with a time of 1:00.19. Women's bobsled athletes Kaillie Humphries and Jenni Hucul made up some time with their run of 59.00 seconds, while Michelle Kelly slid a run of 1:02.52 in women's skeleton. Lyndon Rush and Nathan Cross teamed together in men's bobsled, crossing the line in 57.27 seconds. For complete results of today's race, please visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Haupt, Kiraisis and Wiacker, Huber, Hoepfner and Mann (GER) 3:57.20 (59.74, 58.89, 1:01.85, 56.72); 2. Montgomery, Humphries and Hucul, Kelly, Rush and Cross (CAN) 3:58.98 (1:00.19, 59.00, 1:02.52, 57.27); 3. Lund, Pac and Azevedo, Uhlaender, Holcomb and Tomasevicz (USA) 3:59.07 (59.62, 1:00.07, 1:02.22, 57.16); 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.