SKELETON: Uhlaender Claims Silver at Women's Skeleton World Championships
ALTENBERG, Germany-World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) capped the season with a silver medal in the women's skeleton World Championships in Altenberg, Germany today."I feel great,"Uhlaender said."I didn't have any expectations coming into this race, I just wanted to throw down my best runs and have fun."Uhlaender pushed a 5.75 in the first heat for a finish time of 59.89 seconds. Despite a mistake at the exit of corner four that caused Uhlaender's sled to transition abruptly into curve five, the run was enough to maintain her second position."The first run was disappointing,"Uhlaender said."That was my chance to catch the leader."In the second run today, Uhlaender pushed the fastest start time of the heat, 5.63, for a finish time of 1:00.43."After that last run, I feel like I have this track down,"Uhlaender said."This is my favorite track, and these girls are a lot of fun to compete against. But the next time I come to Altenberg, the track is mine."Germany's Anja Huber won the title with a four-run combined time of 4:02.78, leading the field by only 0.30 seconds. Huber had the fastest run of the first heat today, 59.60, and maintained her lead in the second heat with a time of 1:00.71. In third was German teammate Kerstin Juergens with a total time of 4:03.90. Juergens came from behind in the final heat to claim the bronze by 0.17 seconds after throwing down the fastest run of the last heat with a time of 59.98 seconds. U.S. National Champion Keslie Tomlinson (Potomac Falls, Va.) slid to an impressive 13th place result with a four-run total of 4:10.07. While gathering her thoughts following her final run, Tomlinson became emotional after completing her first World Championships."This has been an awesome experience,"Tomlinson said."I could hear blow horns and noisemakers in Kreisel, and I have never seen so many people at a skeleton race before. It was fun to wave to such a big crowd as I crossed the finish line."Tomlinson pushed start times of 6.00 and 6.21 for runs of 1:01.44 and 1:01.79, respectively."When I crossed the finish line, I didn't know if I had held onto my position because of some trouble I had exiting corner four,"Tomlinson said."Then Martin [U.S. skeleton team driving coach and 2002 Olympic silver medalist in men's skeleton] came running down the outrun with two thumbs up, so I knew it must have been good. It was fun being in the leader's box for a brief second, and I don't know how to explain how awesome this week has been."Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) opted not to compete in World Championships after suffering a hamstring injury two weeks ago in Junior World Championships in Igls, Austria, choosing instead to free the spot for Tomlinson in order to field the strongest World Championship team. Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) finished the 2008 World Championships in 19th with a combined time of 4:12.87. Yamada pushed start times of 5.80 and 5.91 for runs of 1:02.51 and 1:02.48, respectively. Before taking her final run, Yamada pumped her arms into the air at the start to get the crowd excited, and smiled at the camera."I just wanted to have fun,"Yamada said."I wanted to get the crowd going, and I was laughing before I took the last run. Now that the season is over, it's a love-hate feeling. I'm happy because now I can start to regroup for next year, but I'm frustrated and disappointed with my results this season. But, I had a great last few runs, and I had fun."To celebrate the close of the skeleton season, the team gathered for a dinner where awards were given, such as"Team Player"for O'Shea, with Milka chocolate bars as prizes. 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. Anja Huber (GER) 4:02.78 (1:00.29, 1:02.18, 59.60, 1:00.71); 2. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 4:03.08 (1:00.47, 1:02.29, 59.89, 1:00.43); 3. Kerstin Juergens (GER) (1:01.15, 1:02.31, 1:00.46, 59.98);_13. Keslie Tomlinson (USA) 4:10.07 (1:04.42, 1:02.42, 1:01.44, 1:01.79);_19. Courtney Yamada (USA) 4:12.87 (1:04.65, 1:03.23, 1:02.51, 1:02.48); 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.