BOBSLED: Rohbock and Fleming Silver Again on 2006 Olympic Track
CESANA, Italy- Shauna Rohbock (Orem, Utah) and Valerie Fleming (Foster City, Calif.) repeated their Olympic silver medal performance on the 2006 Olympic track in the women's bobsled World Cup competition today in Cesana, Italy. Today's silver is the duo's second medal this season."Shauna is happy about today and glad to be back on the podium again,"said Sepp Plozza, women's bobsled head coach."Shauna made up some points today in rank, so she is catching up."Rohbock and Fleming have battled Germany's Sandra Kiriasis in Cesana since the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The Americans won 2006 Olympic silver behind the German team, and again at the 2006-07 World Cup event. Although Rohbock and Fleming finished ahead of GER I today, they once again finished second on the difficult 19-curve track."The only problem for Shauna was that there is someone ahead of her again,"Plozza laughed."We are all happy with the result today, but Shauna would be happier with a win."Rohbock and Fleming pushed a start time of 5.28 seconds for a first run time of 57.77, putting them in fifth. Helen Upperton and Jennifer Ciochettit were the surprising leaders after the first run, sliding the fastest down time of the competition in the first heat of 57.54 seconds. Rohbock's splits paralleled Upperton's until Rohbock encountered difficulties."Shauna had a skid in the first heat that cost her speed and time,"Plozza said."No one else in the field made this mistake, so it was very competitive."In the second run, Rohbock and Fleming pushed the fourth best start time, 5.25 seconds, for a finish time of 57.63, fastest of the second heat."She had a very good second heat, and was not only the fastest down in time, but Shauna also had the fastest speed,"Plozza said."Without the skid in the first heat, she would have easily won."Upperton and Ciochetti were only 0.06 seconds from the Americans on the second heat, but it wasn't enough for USA I to take the lead. Upperton, who has never placed higher than fourth in Cesana, claimed gold with a combined time of 1:55.23 after a second run of 57.69. Rohbock slid a two-heat total of 1:55.40 for the silver. The German team of Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker finished third after runs of 57.57 and 57.88, second and third fastest of the race, respectively, for a combined time of 1:55.45. Jamia Jackson (Lake City, Fla.) made her World Cup debut today with veteran push athlete Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.). Jackson was the Europa Cup silver medalist in Cesana last month, and finished 12th today. Jackson and Azevedo pushed start times of 5.38 and 5.40 for the 12th fastest runs of the competition in both heats, a 58.23 and 58.49. Team USA III finished with a combined time of 1:56.72 for their first World Cup competition together."Jamia did very well on this track in the Europa Cup race, so the extra week of training here helped a lot,"Plozza said."She had a little problem in curve 16, which cost her time, but overall she did very well."Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) competed in only her fifth World Cup competition as a driver today with newcomer Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.). The pair had never experience the tough track until this week. Pac and Meyers pushed an identical 5.24 in both heats, second and third best of the competition, and slid runs of 58.38 and 58.54. Pac finished 14th with a combined time of 1:56.92."Erin entered this race with only six training runs,"Plozza said."She's never been here before, so I'm happy with her result. It was a tough competition, and the field was very tight."The women's bobsled team will now depart for the sixth World Cup event of the 2007-08 season in St. Moritz, Switzerland from Jan. 21-27. Log onto www.NBCOlympics.com, presented by MediaZone, to watch the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team in action LIVE and On-Demand. Men's two-man bobsled will take place later this morning at 10:30 am EST, while men's four-man bobsled will conclude the event tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3 am 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. Helen Upperton and Jennifer Ciochetti (CAN I) 1:55.23 (57.54, 57.69); 2. Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming (USA I) 1:55.40 (57.77, 57.63); 3. Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker (GER I) 1:55.45 (57.57, 57.88);_12. Jamia Jackson and Emily Azevedo (USA II) 1:56.72 (58.23, 58.49);_14. Erin Pac and Elana Meyers (USA III) 1:56.92 (58.38, 58.54); 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.