SKELETON: Lund Sixth in World Championships
ALTENBERG, Germany-The men's skeleton World Championship finale proved to be dramatic today in Altenberg, Germany. Athletes battled varying conditions on the track from water puddles to frost as they fought for the title. Despite trouble at the start in the first heat today, Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) crossed the finish line in sixth position for a World Championship medal."I had fun today,"Lund said."I'm happy with the result. I know I brought my best to the competition, and that's all I can ask for."There were five major mishaps at the start today, and two of them were by Americans. Lund's sled popped out of the start groove when he loaded after pushing a 5.28, but lost momentum down the track. Crossing the line in 59.22 seconds, Lund dropped two positions into seventh."It's unfortunate that there was a problem with the groove, but that's just racing sometimes,"Lund said."It was like that for everyone. I ran my sled far enough down that it affected me. I felt like I had a great push, and I was going all out. Sometimes things don't go the way you plan."Despite the mistake, Lund knew he was still within reach of the top six, which is medal position for the World Championships. Pushing an identical start time of 5.28 seconds, Lund loaded his sled smoothly and navigated the 17-curve course in 59.26 seconds, moving him into sixth with a four-run total of 3:56.28. As Lund crossed the finish line, he reached out to high-five the mascot."I had a great time,"Lund said with a laugh."Overall, this has been a decent season. The last two years I have been really focused on results. I had things to prove. I didn't want to peak this season, because I wanted to take a year to just have fun. Next year I'll try to start ramping up again and get ready for the 2010 Games."World Cup Champion Kristan Bromley from Great Britain dominated the season by winning the World Championship title. Bromley slid a four-run combined time of 3:54.71 after sliding runs of 58.23 and 59.45 today. After he crossed the finish, partner Shelley Rudman, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist in women's skeleton, handed him their five-month-old daughter, Ella Maria. Taking silver was Canada's Jon Montgomery in 3:55.39 after final runs of 58.16 and 59.63. In third was Frank Rommel from Germany with a total time of 3:55.45 after runs of 58.25 and 59.58 today. Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) finished 12th in his second World Championships with a four-run combined time of 3:58.39. Bernotas pushed an uncharacteristic 5.47, only 27th best of the heat, after stumbling a few steps into the start from a sticky groove."The sled stuck a little bit and I lost my balance,"Bernotas said."Instead of falling on the sled, it just worked out that I hopped from one side of the sled to the other. I salvaged something, but it wasn't much."After the mistake at the start, Bernotas was unable to gain speed down the track, crossing the line in 1:00.66 in the first heat today."The conditions were squirrelly today,"Bernotas said."The ice was wet, and so there wasn't much grip, and then other spots were frosty. It was really tough because it was so inconsistent. You need to know how and when to adjust, and I wasn't able to do that."Undeterred, Bernotas burst off the block with a 5.29 start time for the second fastest run of the final heat, 59.07. Although disappointed with the final result, Bernotas joked at the finish by pretending to swim on his sled after crossing the line in puddles."The season started off great,"Bernotas said."I was anxious after the holiday break to return to racing, but it took me awhile to get back into it. Koenigsse was a bad race, but I bounced back in Winterberg. I thought I could carry the momentum into this race, but it didn't work out that way."Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 20th with a combined time of 4:01.13. Smith pushed start times of 5.81 and 5.57 for runs of 1:01.42 and 1:00.12, respectively."The ice is funny today,"Smith said."It was really unpredictable. There's frost, water, hard ice. Regardless, I learned a lot this year. I just need to put things together now. I've had a lot of bad races, but really good training, so I need to learn how to put it together on race days. Things are different at the World Cup level. If you make a small mistake, it can cost you."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. Kristan Bromley (GBR) 3:54.71 (58.13, 58.90, 58.23, 59.45); 2. Jon Montgomery (CAN) 3:55.39 (58.33, 59.27, 58.16, 59.63); 3. Florian Grassal (GER) 3:55.45 (58.15, 59.08, 58.18, 59.58);_6. Zach Lund (USA) 3:56.28 (58.43, 59.37, 59.22, 59.26);_12. Eric Bernotas (USA) 3:58.39 (59.35, 59.60, 1:00.66, 59.07);_20. Caleb Smith (USA) 4:01.13 (59.62, 59.97, 1:01.42, 1:00.12); 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.