Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 523-1842, ext 106, email@example.com
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2009
U.S. Claims 19 Medals in America’s Cup Finale
Lake Placid, N.Y.– The U.S. team wrapped up the 2008-09 competitive season with 19 medals and three overall titles in the America’s Cup finale in Lake Placid, N.Y. Competition began on Wednesday, April 1st and concluded on Saturday, April 5th.
Each of the five disciplines- women’s skeleton, men’s skeleton, women’s bobsled, men’s two-man bobsled and men’s four-man bobsled- competed in a series of two races held over two days. The America’s Cup tour consisted of eight competitions held on three North American tracks.
Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) won her second overall America’s Cup title despite only racing in seven of the eight competitions, claiming a gold, three silver and two bronze medals throughout the year.
“Winning the title definitely gives me confidence going into next year,” said O’Shea. “It was a surprise, because I competed on the Intercontinental Cup circuit this season and used the America’s Cup races as training for race preparation. I wanted to be more consistent with my sliding by putting together two solid runs, but I also want to win every race I’m in.”
O’Shea won the first competition held on Thursday, April 2nd by 0.64 seconds with a combined time of one minute, 56.76 seconds. The junior athlete accomplished her goal by sliding two consistent runs of 58.15 and 58.61 seconds, both fastest of the competition. O’Shea also pushed start times of 5.46 and 5.48, second and first fastest of the day, respectively.
“I was looking forward to this race,” said O’Shea. “I had the opportunity to test my equipment over the last few weeks. I learned a lot, which really helps going into next season.”
Rebecca Sorensen (Fort Collins, Colo.) added to the overall medal count by sliding a silver medal performance with a total time of 1:57.40. Sorensen pushed start times of 5.51 and 5.60 for runs of 58.29 and 59.11, respectively.
In third was Tionette Stoddard from New Zealand with a two-run total of 1:57.64 after sliding to the finish in 58.84 and 58.80 seconds.
Rachelle Rasmussen (Belmont, Calif.), competing in only her second season sliding, finished sixth with a total time of 1:59.86 (1:00.12, 59.74). Cassie Revelli (Highland, Utah) finished eight with a combined time of 2:00.88 (59.71, 1:01.17).
On the second day of competition held on Friday, April 3rd, Stoddard edged O’Shea for the gold medal with a two-run total of 1:57.19 after sliding runs of 57.81 and 59.38. Stoddard finished the season ranked second in overall America’s Cup rank with 370 points.
O’Shea wrapped up her competitive season with a silver medal after crossing the finish line with a total time of 1:57.56 to solidify her America’s Cup title with 420 points. Bursting off the starting block with the second and first fastest start times of the day, a 5.49 and 5.47, O’Shea stopped the clock in 58.13 and 59.43 seconds.
Sorensen slid a bronze medal performance with a total time of 1:58.20 after sliding to the finish in 58.42 and 59.78 seconds, and finished the season ranked third in America’s Cup standings with 366 points. Sorensen was one of four skeleton coaches at the FIBT International Driving School last week in Lake Placid, where fourteen nations participated. Several athletes that participated in the school remained in Lake Placid to compete in the America’s Cup.
“It was a competitive women’s field,” said O’Shea. “It was also really nice to see so many development sliders from the different nations, because it makes it a really fun atmosphere. It’s a great race to have at the end of the year.”
Rasmussen finished eighth on the second day with a combined time of 2:00.64 (1:00.02, 1:00.62). After competing in only six out of eight America’s Cup races, Rasmussen capped the season in 11th position.
Revelli pushed out of the groove at the start in her first heat and was unable to make up time on the way down the course. Revelli was able to move up five positions in the second heat to finish 12th with a total time of 2:03.39 (1:02.09, 1:01.30).
In the men’s skeleton competition, Chris Burgess (Glen Gardner, N.J.) led the U.S. team by wining his first-ever competition on Thursday, April 2nd.
“I was shocked, especially considering how this year was going for me,” said Burgess. “I had a lot of equipment trouble this season, so I was pretty happy to come out and put down two good runs. I had some ups and downs this year and it’s definitely nice to end on a high note.”
Burgess pushed start times of 5.11 and 5.10 and continued to gain speed down the course, dominating the competition with the two fastest runs of the competition, a 57.01 and 57.25. Burgess slid a combined time of 1:54.26 to claim gold with an impressive margin of 0.86 seconds.
“I knew I was having a good run,” said Burgess. “I was happy when I crossed the finish and saw my time, but I was surprised that I was ahead by that much.”
Luke Schulz (Davenport, N.D.) powered off the starting block for his personal best start times of 4.92 seconds before sliding to the finish in 57.49 seconds. Schulz moved up two positions into the podium in the second heat after sliding a run of 57.63 seconds for a total time of 1:55.12.
In third was Gregory Saint-Genies from France with a combined time of 1:55.39 after sliding runs of 57.31 and 58.08.
Kevin Ellis (Dallas, Texas) competed in only his fifth competition this season after returning to the sport from a devastating injury in 2006, and finished just outside of the medals in fourth place with a total time of 1:55.42 (57.49, 57.93). Ellis is still one of the most impressive push athletes in the world, powering off the block in 4.90 and 4.99 seconds.
On the second day of competition on Friday, April 3rd, Schulz claimed his first gold medal in an international race. Schulz was in second position after the first heat with a time of 57.30, just three-hundredths of a second behind teammate Burgess.
Schulz powered off the starting block with the fastest push time of the heat, 4.97, to cross the finish line in 58.66 seconds for a total time of 1:55.96. Schulz waited nervously at the finish as Burgess his time down the course.
“Burgess had been crushing it down the track and I knew that three-tenths of a second lead wasn’t going to be enough, especially after yesterday when he beat me by over eight-tenths of a second combined,” said Schulz. “I didn’t feel safe until his last split was three-tenths off of my time, but I could barely look at the clock during his run.”
Burgess crossed the finish line in second position, just 0.21 seconds from Schulz, with a combined time of 1:56.17 after sliding runs of 57.27 and 58.90.
“This was a really good competition,” said Schulz. “Going up against the U.S. guys is great and kind of a preview of team trials next year. This is something I’ve been working pretty hard for. It was good to get back on the ice and to put together a solid week before the season concludes.”
John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.), who finished the European Cup circuit ranked second this season, completed the U.S. sweep of the medals by finishing third with a total time of 1:56.39. Daly battled Schulz for the fastest start times, pushing a 4.93 and 4.99 for runs of 57.32 and 59.07.
Kyle Tress (Trenton, N.J.) made certain the U.S. denied all nations a chance at the podium by finishing fourth with a two-run total of 1:56.73 after sliding to the finish in 57.45 and 59.28 seconds.
Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) capped an impressive season with a gold and silver medal this week. Schaaf was named the 2009 U.S. National Champion with Emily Azevedo in January, earning a spot onto the World Cup tour. Undeterred by the daunting 2010 Olympic course in Whistler, British Columbia, Schaaf finished sixth in her World Cup debut. Schaaf went on to finish fifth in Park City before returning to Lake Placid to finish tenth in World Championships.
“No matter how much time you spend on a track, there’s always more to learn,” said Schaaf. “I had a few question marks in my head about the Lake Placid track that I couldn’t end the season on, and I just ended the year on the two best feeling runs I’ve had here. It’s a great way to go into next year.”
Teamed with Tracy Call (Minneapolis, Minn.), Schaaf claimed gold in the first competition held on Wednesday, April 1st with a combined time of 1:58.26. Call began the sport of bobsledding in April 2008 and has proved herself as an up-and-coming push athlete.
“Racing in the America’s Cup has been an unbelievable opportunity,” said Call. “It’s been a learning process all year long and to finally get a shot to race was really exciting for me.”
Schaaf and Call pushed consistent start times of 5.79 and 5.78 for runs of 59.07 and 59.19.
Canadians Amanda Stepenko and Shelly-Ann Brown battled the U.S. duo for gold, but fell short by a mere 0.05 seconds. Stepenko and Brown slid a two-run total of 1:58.31 after sliding to the finish in 59.22 and 59.09 seconds.
Elfje Willemsen and Evi Petro from Belgium finished third with a combined time of 2:00.86 (1:00.32, 1:00.54).
Several U.S. push athletes moved into the driver’s seat in March to test their hands at the D-rings. Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) began driving three weeks ago and competed in the America’s Cup with a different perspective of the course.
“Moving into the front of the sled was an amazing experience,” said Greubel. “I’m having so much fun learning how to drive. I’m really grateful to have this opportunity and I’m looking forward to pursuing driving in the future.”
Greubel recruited her cousin, Amy Greubel (Robbinsville, N.J.), to push for her this week. The U.S. pair pushed times of 5.99 and 6.00 for runs of 1:01.29 and 1:01.01, sliding to the finish with a combined time of 2:02.30 for fifth place.
Push athlete Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) also switched to the driver’s seat this week and finished sixth withJamie Kovac (South Amboy, N.J.) after sliding a total time of 2:03.00. Fenlator and Kovac pushed start times of 5.88 and 5.91 for runs of 1:01.43 and 1:01.57.
Schaaf continued her medal streak, claiming silver with Call on the second day of competition on Thursday, April 2nd after sliding a two-run total of 1:59.67. Schaaf and Call pushed start times of 5.83 and 5.82 for runs of 59.98 and 59.29, respectively.
“It was nice to have the time to get some small things figured out on the track,” said Schaaf. “It’ll be a nice transition now into off season training, because it’ll be nice to focus on becoming physically stronger so that I’m ready for next season.”
Schaaf added 2009 America’s Cup Champion to her growing sliding resume after medaling in all eight competitions this season, claiming two gold, two silver and four bronze medals for 380 points.
Stepenko and Brown took the lead on Thursday, finishing with a combined time of 1:59.47 after sliding runs of 59.64 and 59.83 for the gold. The Canadian finished third in overall standings with 220 points.
Willemsen and Willemarck wrapped up their season second in overall rank with 272 points after claiming bronze on Thursday with a two-run total of 2:02.36 (1:01.17, 1:01.19).
Greubel and Greubel finished fifth again with a combined time of 2:03.90 after sliding runs of 1:02.30 and 1:01.60.
Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.), who won the 2009 World Championship silver medal with Shauna Rohbock in February, also moved into the driver’s seat last month. Meyers competed on Thursday with Jacqueline Rodgers (Lincoln, Neb.) and finished sixth with a total of 2:05.27. Meyers and Rodgers pushed times of 5.92 and 5.97 for runs of 1:02.41 and 1:02.86.
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) dominated the men’s bobsled competitions, sweeping the two and four-man races this week. A soldier athlete in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), Napier was named the two-man bobsled America’s Cup Champion.
Napier teamed with 2008 Push Champion Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.), who returned to competition this week after recovering from hip surgery.
“It feels great to get back into competition,” said Langton. “Sliding with Napier is always fun and today was no exception.”
Napier and Langton burst off the starting block with the fastest push time of the heat, 5.22, for a finish time of 57.24. The duo maintained their lead in the second heat, pushing a 5.27 for a finish time of 57.48 to claim gold with a combined time of 1:54.72.
“This is exciting,” said Napier. “I honestly didn’t expect this. It’s great having Langton back and he helped push me to my personal best start time. I had taken a few weeks of rest after World Championships, so I really didn’t imagine we’d do this well.”
Grayson Fertig (New York City, N.Y.) teamed with Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah), who is also a soldier athlete in WCAP, for the silver medal after stopping the clock in one minute, 55.68 seconds. Fertig and Fogt pushed start times of 5.30 and 5.34 for runs of 57.78 and 57.90.
In third was Hiroshi Suzuki and Ryuichi Kobayashi from Japan with a combined time of 1:55.86 after crossing the finish line in 57.85 and 58.01 seconds.
Ethan Albrecht-Carrie (Wheatfield, N.Y.) finished sixth with Ryan Greer (Columbia Md.) with a two-run total of 1:57.01 (58.33, 58.68). Chase Dehan (Park City, Utah) made the switch from skeleton to bobsled driving this season and finished 15th with Avian Jordan (Lake Placid, N.Y.) after sliding a combined time of 2:01.10 (1:00.47, 1:00.63).
Napier continued his domination on Thursday, claiming his second gold medal this week with 2009 U.S. National Champion partner Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) after sliding a combined time of 1:56.07.
“It’s always good to end the season on a win,” said Butner. “It gives Napier a boost and some confidence going into team trials next year, and we had some decent push times considering the conditions.”
Butner also dabbled in driving last month before switching back to the push bar to compete with Napier in the America’s Cup finale.
“Learning to drive was great,” said Butner. “I have a better knowledge of what’s going on and I definitely have a different perspective of the track.”
Napier and Butner pushed start times of 5.32 and 5.35 in slower conditions as spring flirted with the Adirondack region. The U.S. duo slid to the finish in 58.26 and 57.81 seconds for the victory.
Napier’s two-man victories will bump him up in international points leading into the Olympic year for a better start order entering the 2009-10 season.
Hsuzuki and Kobayashi snuck into second place on the final day of two-man competition, sliding a total time of 1:56.25 after crossing the finish line in 58.38 and 57.87 seconds.
Fertig teamed with Caleb Campbell (Perrytown, Texas) to finish third with combined time of 1:57.20. The U.S. pair raced to the finish in 58.66 and 58.54 seconds.
Some of the small nations that competed in the America’s Cup competition after participating in the FIBT International Driving School included Australia, Poland, Jamaica, Mexico and Brazil.
“These are legitimate teams now,” said Fertig. “They have great coaching and opportunities like the international driving schools to learn, so the support for these teams over the last few years has made them competitive. They might have a different method and set of rules to qualify for the Olympics next year, but their dreams for that level of competition is just as significant as ours.”
Napier continued his domination in the first four-man bobsled competition on Friday, April 3rd, claiming his third gold medal of the week with teammates Butner, Fogt and Langton.
“It’s not the ideal conditions for a race, but these guys prevailed,” said Napier. “I had a great push crew and I’m really fortunate to win with these guys. I really credit them a lot for today’s success.”
Despite a steady rain that began to fall before the start of the competition, Napier’s crew pushed him to his personal best start time of 5.11 seconds in the first heat for a run of 56.76. Napier, Butner, Fogt and Langton extended their lead in the second run, pushing a 5.15 for a run of 57.12. The team crossed the finish with a combined time of 1:53.89, finishing over two seconds ahead of the field.
Fertig teamed with Campbell, Jordan and Jeremy White (Salt Lake City, Utah) for a silver medal performance with a total time of 1:55.95. Team Fertig pushed start times of 5.54 and 5.47 for runs of 57.82 and 58.13.
Kwang-Bae Kang, Jinhee Lee, Jung-Su Kim and Donghyun Kim from Korea stunned the field by claiming bronze on Friday with a total time of 1:56.26 (57.92, 58.34). Kang was a 2002 Olympian in the sport of luge, a 2006 Olympian in the sport of skeleton, and is now making his push to be a 2010 Olympian as a bobsled driver.
The four-man bobsled finale on Saturday, March 4th concluded the 2008-09 competitive season. Napier closed the year with yet another gold medal with his push crew of Butner, Fogt and Langton.
“The track is in great condition,” said Napier. “Tony Carlino [Olympic Sports Complex Manager] and his track crew did an amazing job preparing the course for our race.”
Team Napier pushed a 5.15 and 5.11 for runs of 56.59 and 56.17, respectively, for the victory.
“We mustered out another 5.11 and brought it to the table for the last race of the year,” said Napier. “I’m really happy and looking forward to starting my off season training so that I can be faster and stronger for next season.”
Fertig and his team of Campbell, Jordan and White finished with their second consecutive silver medal with a combined time of 1:54.36. Team Fertig pushed start times of 5.46 and 5.40 for runs of 57.35 and 57.01.
In third was the Japanese team of Hiroshi Suzuki, Shinji Doigawa, Ryuichi Kobayashi and Yasunori Yoshioka with a total time of 1:54.97 (57.52, 57.45).
Complete results can be found by visiting the web site of the Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Togogganing atwww.fibt.com. For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Skeleton #1:
1. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:56.76 (58.15, 58.61); 2. Rebecca Sorensen (USA) 1:57.40 (58.29, 59.11); 3. Tionette Stoddard (NZL) 1:57.64 (58.84, 58.80);…6. Rachelle Rasmussen (USA) 1:59.86 (1:00.12, 59.74);…8. Cassie Revelli (USA) 2:00.88 (59.71, 1:01.17);
Women’s Skeleton #2:
1. Tionette Stoddard (NZL) 1:57.19 (57.81, 59.38); 2. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:57.56 (58.13, 59.43); 3. Rebecca Sorensen (USA) 1:58.20 (58.42, 59.78);…8. Rachelle Rasmussen (USA) 2:00.64 (1:00.02, 1:00.62);…12. Cassie Revelli (USA) 2:03.39 (1:02.09, 1:01.30);
Men’s Skeleton #1:
1. Chris Burgess (USA) 1:54.26 (57.01, 57.25); 2. Luke Schulz (USA) 1:55.12 (57.49, 57.63); 3. Gregory Saint-Genies (FRA) 1:55.39 (57.31, 58.08); 4. Kevin Ellis (USA) 1:55.42 (57.49, 57.93);….Kyle Tress (USA) DSQ;
Men’s Skeleton #2:
1. Luke Schulz (USA) 1:55.96 (57.30, 58.66); 2. Chris Burgess (USA) 1:56.17 (57.27, 58.90); 3. John Daly (USA) 1:56.39 (57.32, 59.07); 4. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:56.73 (57.45, 59.28);
Women’s Bobsled #1:
1. Bree Schaaf and Tracy Call (USA) 1:58.26 (59.07, 59.19); 2. Amanda Stepenko and Shelly-Ann Brown (CAN) 1:58.31 (59.22, 59.09); 3. Elfje Willemsen and Evi Petro (BEL) 2:00.86 (1:00.32, 1:00.54)…5. Jamie Greubel and Amy Greubel (USA) 2:02.30 (1:01.29, 1:01.01); 6. Jazmine Fenlator and Jamie Kovac (USA) 2:03.00 (1:01.43, 1:01.57);
Women’s Bobsled #2:
1. Amanda Stepenko and Shelly-Ann Brown (CAN) 1:59.47 (59.64, 59.83); 2. Bree Schaaf and Tracy Call (USA) 1:59.67 (59.98, 59.69); 3. Elfje Willemsen and Eva Willemarck (BEL) 2:02.36 (1:01.17, 1:01.19);…5. Jamie Greubel and Amy Greubel (USA) 2:03.90 (1:02.30, 1:01.60); 6. Elana Meyers and Jacqueline Rodgers (USA) 2:05.27 (1:02.41, 1:02.86);
Men’s 2-man Bobsled #1:
1. John Napier and Steve Langton (USA) 1:54.72 (57.24, 57.48); 2. Grayson Fertig and Christopher Fogt (USA) 1:55.68 (57.78, 57.90); 3. Hiroshi Suzuki and Ryuichi Kobayashi (JPN) 1:55.86 (57.85, 58.01);…6. Ethan Albrecth-Carrie and Ryan Greer (USA) 1:57.01 (58.33, 58.68);…15. Chase Dehan and Avian Jordan (USA) 2:01.10 (1:00.47, 1:00.63);
Men’s 2-man Bobsled #2:
1. John Napier and Cory Butner (USA) 1:56.07 58.26, 57.81); 2. Hiroshi Suzuki and Ryuichi Kobayashi (JPN) 1:56.25 (58.38, 57.87); 3. Grayson Fertig and Caleb Campbell (USA) 1:57.20 (58.66, 58.54);…10. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie and Ryan Greer (USA) 1:58.93 (59.81, 59.12);…17. Chase Dehan and Bryan Berghorn (USA) (1:01.71, DNS);
Men’s 4-man Bobsled #1:
1. Napier, Butner, Fogt and Langton (USA) 1:53.89 (56.76, 57.13); 2. Fertig, Campbell, Jordan and White (USA) 1:55.95 (57.82, 58.13); 3. Kwang-Bae, Lee, Kim and Kim (KOR) 1:56.26 (57.92, 58.34);…7. Albrecht-Carrie, Nousseau, Barrow and Whisher (USA) 1:58.05 (58.73, 59.32);
Men’s 4-man Bobsled #2:
1. Napier, Butner, Fogt and Langton (USA) 1:52.76 (56.59, 56.17); 2. Fertig, Campbell, Jordan and White (USA) 1:54.36 (57.35, 57.01); 3. Suzuki, Doigawa, Kobayashi and Yoshioka (JPN) 1:54.97 (57.52, 57.45);…6. Albrecht-Carrie, Nousseau, Barrow, Whisher (USA) 1:56.76 (58.57, 58.19);
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, ULU Boots and Ferris Mfg. Corp. 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, EXA, Lumber Liquidators, Lincoln Electronics and Racing Electronics. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.