SKELETON: Uhlaender Wins Cesana Women's Skeleton World Cup
CESANA, Italy-Defending World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) is on her way to reclaiming the overall title after winning the women's skeleton World Cup competition in Cesana, Italy today. Uhlaender finished fourth in yesterday's race, but rebounded today by winning her second gold medal this year."I had a lot of fun today,"Uhlaender said."We had great weather, and everyone was smiling at the start of the race. I wasn't thinking about yesterday, I wasn't thinking about results, I was just concentrating on maintaining my form."Uhlaender pushed a 5.09 second start time in the first heat, and drove her way into the lead with a run of 59.15 seconds. Russian athlete Svetlana Trunova shocked the field by crossing the finish line only 0.04 seconds behind the defending World Cup Champion. Trunova again laid down a solid run in the second heat, a 59.42, for a total time of 1:58.61. Despite Trunova's efforts, Germany's Anja Huber slid the fastest run of the second heat, a 59.04, moving Huber 0.07 seconds ahead of the Russian with a combined time of 1:58.54. Huber's impressive second run put pressure on Uhlaender to perform. Uhlaender responded with a run of 59.36, which was 0.03 seconds fast enough to take the lead. Today's win is Uhlaender's seventh career gold medal, and her second this season. Huber continues to climb in international standings, while today marks Trunova's first-ever World Cup medal."When I saw Anja's time in the second run, I didn't care,"Uhlaender said."I'm not competing against her, I'm competing against myself. My main goal is to think about what I need to do on race day, and not anything or anyone else."Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) finished 17th after runs of 1:00.83 and 1:00.93 for a combined time of 2:01.76. Yamada was consistent in today's race, pushing a 5.10 second start time in both heats. Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) pushed a 5.04 in the first run, fourth fastest of the heat, for a run of 1:00.78 seconds. The 2007 America's Cup Champion had difficulty at the start in the second run, pushing a 6.34, finishing with a run of 1:02.82 for a total time of 2:03.60, placing her in 19th."I pushed out the groove in my second run,"O'Shea said."It was downhill from there, literally. You can't miss anything on this track, because it's impossible to make it up. But I learned so much this week, so it was a good experience."Log onto www.NBCOlympics.com, presented by MediaZone, to watch the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team in action LIVE and On-Demand. Women's bobsled will compete at 3 am on Saturday, Jan. 19, with two-man bobsled following at 10:30 am. The Cesana World Cup will conclude on Sunday, Jan. 20 with four-man bobsled at 3 am. All times listed are in EST. For complete results of the race, please visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1.Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:58.51 (59.15, 59.36); 2. Anja Huber (GER) 1:58.54 (59.50, 59.04); 3. Svetlana Trunova (RUS) 1:58.61 (59.19, 59.42);_17. Courtney Yamada (USA) 2:01.76 (1:00.83, 1:00.93);_19. Annie O'Shea (USA) 2:03.60 (1:00.78, 1:02.82); 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, ULU Boots, CW-X, KBC Helmets, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Speedo and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.