Pac and Rzepka Start Women’s Bobsled World Cup Season with Fourth Place Finish

Nov. 29, 2008, 6:29 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

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

For Immediate Release

November 29, 2008

Pac and Rzepka Start Women’s Bobsled World Cup Season with Fourth Place Finish 

WINTERBERG, Germany–The women’s bobsled World Cup circuit started the 2008-09 season in Winterberg, Germany today in blustery conditions. Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) teamed with Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.) to finish just 0.02 seconds from the podium in fourth place, while Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) and Valerie Fleming (Park City, Utah) struggled with the elements, finishing seventh.

“It started to snow after the first two or three sleds,” said Sepp Plozza, women’s bobsled head coach.  “The start times became slower and slower, which of course adds time at the finish.  It affected the entire field.”

Pac and Rzepka pushed a start time of 5.80 seconds in the first heat for a run of 58.47, fifth fastest of the heat.  Clouds cleared between heats, but the start groove was still covered with a thin layer of snow. 

Determined to better their first heat result, Pac and Rzepka burst off the starting block in the second heat with a start time of 5.59, just 0.01 seconds from the track record, for a run of 57.94.

“If the ice were fast at the start, there is no question they would have pushed below the record,” said Plozza.  “Unfortunately there was still a little snow in the groove, but they did a really great job today.”

The U.S. duo slid to the finish with a two-run total of 1:56.41, just two-hundredths of a second from the medals in the first World Cup competition of the 2008-09 season.

Rohbock and Fleming, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists, struggled with the snowy conditions today.  The pair pushed a start time of 5.91 seconds in the first heat, and a 5.72 in the second heat.

“Their push times were over a tenth of a second different between the two runs,” said Plozza.  “They are normally very consistent, so the conditions played a role in their result today.”

Rohbock and Fleming slid to the finish with runs of 58.82 and 58.20 for a total time of 1:57.02, placing them in seventh out of a competitive field of 21 sleds.

Helen Upperton and Jennifer Ciochetti from Canada denied the Germans a gold medal on their home track today by claiming the top podium spot with a combined time of 1:55.86.  The duo pushed some of the fastest start times of the day, a 5.68 and 5.61, for runs of 58.04 and 57.82. 

Reigning World and Olympic Champion Sandra Kiriasis from Germany could only muster a second place finish on her home track with teammate Romy Logsch.  The German team slid a two-run total of 1:56.11 after sliding runs of 58.33 and 57.78.

Germans Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer, who normally battle it out with team Kiriasis for the gold, finished third today.  Martini and Tischer slid to the finish in 58.31 and 58.08 seconds for a combined time of 1:56.39.

World Cup coverage from Winterberg will be offered as same-day video on- demand on UniversalSports.com.  Universal Sports TV will offer a one-hour broadcast of today’s event on Dec. 2nd from 9-10 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

Results:

1. Helen Upperton and Jennifer Ciochetti (CAN) 1:55.86 (58.04, 57.82); 2. Sandra Kiriasis and Romy Logsch (GER) 1:56.11 (58.33, 57.78); 3.Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer (GER) 1:56.39 (58.31, 58.08); 4. Erin Pac and Michelle Rzepka (USA) 1:56.41 (58.47, 57.94);...7. Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming (USA) 1:57.02 (58.82, 58.20);

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.

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