Bernotas Top U.S. Sled in Men’s Skeleton World Cup Opener

Nov. 28, 2008, 11:30 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106,

For Immediate Release

November 27, 2008

Bernotas Top U.S. Sled in Men’s Skeleton World Cup Opener

WINTERBERG, Germany–The men’s skeleton 2008-09 World Cup tour kicked off today with competition in Winterberg, Germany. Olympian Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) was the highest U.S. finisher in seventh out of a competitive field of 29 sleds.

“Today could have been better, but I’m not disappointed,” said Bertnoas.  “We worked really well together this week, so we were able to accomplish a lot in terms of our team dynamic this year.”

Bernotas finished with a combined time of 1:54.96 for a three-way tie for seventh place with defending World Cup champion Kristan Bromley and Canada’s Jon Montgomery. 

“Having a tie when we compete to hundredths of a second is pretty crazy,” said Bernotas.  “It makes for good camaraderie between sliders of all nations.”

Pushing identical start times of 5.15 in the two-heat competition, Bernotas slid to the finish in 57.40 and 57.56 seconds.

“I’m going to take it one race at a time,” said Bernotas.  “Of course I wish I’d had a better result, but I still believe I can compete against anyone on any track, and I’m already looking forward to the race next week in Altenberg.”

Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah), the 2007 World Cup Champion, opened the 2008-09 season with a tenth place finish.

“Knowing my history on this track, my goal for today was to finish in the top ten,” said Lund.  “I accomplished that goal, but I still think I could have done better.”

Lund pushed start times of 5.24 and 5.22 for runs of 57.50 and 57.71, respectively.  Battling a competitive field of Olympic and World Champions, Lund slid to the finish with a total time of 1:55.21 for a top ten result.

“My runs felt good, but my starts could have been better,” said Lund.  “Having strong start times help on this track, but there’s more to it than just that.

“If I knew what that something was on this track, I’d tell you.  But I don’t know,” said Lund with a laugh.

Germany’s Florian Grassl was victorious on his home track today, claiming gold with a total time of 1:54.13 after sliding runs of 56.97 and 57.16. 

Alexander Tretiakov, nicknamed the “Russian Rocket” for his blazing start times, finished second with a combined time of 1:54.16 (56.88, 57.28).  The “Rocket” upheld his reputation by bursting off the block with start times of 4.92 and 4.87, fastest of the day.

Latvia’s Martins Dukurs, who won the World Cup event in Winterberg last season, slid to a bronze medal finish after sliding heats of 57.06 and 57.36 for a two-run total of 1:54.42.

Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 21st after pushing a start time of 5.38 seconds for a run of 58.18.  Only the top 20 sleds are granted a second run, and Smith struggled with the track, which favors athletes with a faster push, in the first heat.

World Cup coverage from today’s competition will be offered as same-day video on- demand on  Universal Sports TV will also offer one-hour broadcast of the event on Dec. 2nd from 8-9 pm EST.   Visit for up-to-date TV and online schedules and availability of the Universal Sports 24-hour TV network.

For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or


1.Florian Grassl (GER) 1:54.13 (56.97, 57.16);  2. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:54.16 (56.88, 57.28); 3. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 1:54.42 (57.06, 57.36);...7. Eric Bernotas (USA) 1:54.96 (57.40, 57.56);...10. Zach Lund (USA) 1:55.21 (57.50, 57.71);...21. Caleb Smith (USA) (58.18, DNS);

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, Vilter Manufacturing, KBC Helmets, Luminox Watch Company and ULU Boots. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project:  Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear, JEGS Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Racing Electronics.  For more information, please visit the USBSF website at