SKELETON: Uhlaender Captures Gold Again, Moves into World Cup Lead
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland-Defending World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) captured her third World Cup victory today in the St. Moritz women's skeleton competition. Uhlaender set the seasonal track record in the second run on the way to her victory, and reclaimed the overall World Cup lead."Katie had two great back-to-back runs,"said Greg Sand, U.S. skeleton assistant coach."She had one of the best lines, if not the best, through the Horseshoe corner of all competitors, men and women. She had an excellent line that shot her out for an advantage of 0.64 seconds in the first heat."Uhlaender, 2007 World Championship bronze medalist from St. Moritz last season, had the fastest runs of the competition as well as the highest speed of 131.9 km/h. Uhlaender pushed a start time of 5.47 seconds, fifth best of the heat, for a crushing first run time of 1:11.56 seconds. The closest competitor was Carla Pavan from Canada, who was 0.64 seconds behind with a time of 1:12.20. Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth responded to the competitive field of women by breaking the seasonal track record in the second heat with a run of 1:11.34. Teammate Pavan responded with a time of 1:11.08 seconds, smashing Hollingsworth's record by 0.26 seconds. Pavan could only wait and watch as Uhlaender sped down the natural track, posting split times faster than any slider yet this year. Uhlaender crossed the finish line in 1:11.05, breaking the seasonal track record again by an additional 0.03 seconds to claim gold with a total time of 2:22.61."Katie let it fly at the bottom of the track on the second run,"Sand said."Once again, she had an excellent line through Horseshoe, took advantage of the faster ice, and broke the track record."Pavan slid a two-run total of 2:23.28 for the silver. Hollingsworth finished third, 1.20 seconds from the lead, with a total time of 2:23.81. Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) finished 13th today with a total time of 2:25.62 after runs of 1:12.97 and 1:12.65. Just 0.13 seconds behind Yamada was 2007 America's Cup Champion Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.). The 20 year old finished 14th after runs of 1:12.88 and 1:12.87 for a combined time of 2:25.75. Missing in today's competition were both the gold and silver medalists from the 2007 World Championships in St. Moritz. U.S. athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace, who won the World Championship title by the largest margin in women's skeleton World Championship history, welcomed her first child, Lacee Lynne Pace, with husband Janson into the world on Saturday, Jan. 19. Pikus-Pace plans to return to the ice March 31-April 6 at the America's Cup competition in Lake Placid, N.Y. Maya Pederson, who claimed World Championship silver last season, is expecting her second child in the upcoming months, and plans to return to competition next year. Uhlaender is currently the World Cup leader with 1245 points, with Michelle Kelly from Canada in second with 1196. Hollingsworth is third in overall points after today's performance with 1114 points. Don't miss the action LIVE and On-Demand on NBCOlympics.com, courtesy of MediaZone. Check out the races for only $4.99, and find out more about bobsled, skeleton and luge, the fastest sports on ice. For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 2:22.61 (1:11.56, 1:11.05); 2. Carla Pavan (CAN) 2:23.28 (1:12.20, 1:11.08); 3. Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 2:23.81 (1:12.47, 1:11.34);_13. Courtney Yamada (USA) 2:25.62 (1:12.97, 1:12.65); 14. Annie O'Shea (USA) 2:25.75 (1:12.88, 1:12.87); 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.