Uhlaender and Pikus-Pace Slide into Top Six in Women’s Skeleton World Cup Season Opener

Nov. 28, 2008, 6:58 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com

For Immediate Release

November 27, 2008

Uhlaender and Pikus-Pace Slide into Top Six in Women’s Skeleton World Cup Season Opener

WINTERBERG, Germany–The U.S. placed two sleds in the top six at the 2008-09 World Cup women’s skeleton season opener in Winterberg, Germany today.  Defending World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished just 0.22 seconds from the medals in fourth, with teammate Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) closely behind in fifth.

“I was super nervous today,” said Uhlaender.  “This track is stressful, because the ice conditions are always tough and variable.  At the start I just thought, ‘What’s going to happen is going to happen,’ which helped me relax.”

The two-time World Cup champion pushed identical start times of 5.58 seconds before putting together two solid runs, a 59.11 and 59.49, to finish fourth with a total time of 1:58.60.

“I’m definitely starting this season better than last year,” said Uhlaender, who opened the 2007-08 season with a seventh place finish in Calgary before claiming six medals in the remaining seven races.  “Recovering from knee surgery over the summer has been a rough road, but I know I’ll be back on track by next week in Altenberg. 

Finishing just one-tenth of a second behind Uhlaender for a fifth place result was returning 2007 World Champion Pikus-Pace with a combined time of 1:58.71.  Pikus-Pace took a one-year hiatus from the sport to have her first child, daughter Lacee Lynne Pace, with husband Janson.

“I’m really happy with my finish today,” said Pikus-Pace.  “A top six finish is a good sign for things to come.  Today felt really dreamy, and I had a hard time getting mentally prepared, but I’m still pleased with my result.”

Pikus-Pace pushed her personal best start times today of 5.67 and 5.65 for runs of 59.23 and 59.48 for a fifth place finish.

German athletes Anja Huber and Kerstin Szymkowiak claimed gold and silver on their home track today.  Reigning World Champion Huber slid runs of 58.80 and 58.92 for a total time of 1:57.72 to edge her teammate by a mere 0.02 seconds.  Szymkowiak finished with a two-run total of 1:57.74 after sliding times of 58.75 and 58.99.

“The Germans did a great job today,” said Pikus-Pace.  “It was hard to keep up with them all week, and they laid down some great runs in the race.”

Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth, the Olympic bronze medalist, claimed bronze with a two-run total of 1:58.38 after runs of 59.03 and 59.35,

Returning U.S. World Cup veteran Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) slid to an 11th place finish today with a combined time of 1:59.33.  Yamada, who unofficially smashed the track record on the 2009 World Championship track in Lake Placid, N.Y. before departing for the World Cup tour, pushed two of the fastest start times of the race, a 5.46 and 5.49, for runs of 59.52 and 59.81.

Also returning to the World Cup circuit today after taking a year off to have children was Olympic Champion Maya Pedersen and Olympic silver medalist Shelley Rudman.  Pederson and Rudman finished 8th and 10th with combined times of 1:59.01 and 1:59.11, respectively. 

“I was excited to see Maya and Shelley again,” said Pikus-Pace.  “We were in the start house this week talking about what kind of diapers we use for our kids, which stroller they like, what kind of formula they use, which is definitely a different start house conversation than we’ve had in the past.”

World Cup coverage from today’s competition will be offered as same-day video on- demand on UniversalSports.com.  Universal Sports TV will also offer a one-hour broadcast of today’s event on December 2nd from 7-8 pm EST.   Visit UniversalSports.com for up-to-date TV and online schedules and availability of the Universal Sports 24-hour TV network.

Complete results of today’s race can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobagganing at www.fibt.com.  For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or abird@usbsf.com


1. Anja Huber (GER) 1:57.72 (58.80, 58.92); 2. Kerstin Szymkowiak (GER) 1:57.74 (58.75, 58.99); 3. Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 1:58.38 (59.03, 59.35); 4. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:58.60 (59.11, 59.49); 5. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:58.71 (59.23, 59.48);...11. Courtney Yamada (USA) 1:59.33 (59.52, 59.81);

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 http://bobsled.teamusa.org.