Rohbock and Meyers World Championship Silver Medalists

Feb. 21, 2009, 1:16 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

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

 

For Immediate Release

February 21, 2009

 

Rohbock and Meyers World Championship Silver Medalists 

 

Lake Placid, N.Y.Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) and Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) added World Championship silver medalists to their sliding resume today in the women’s bobsled event at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y.  All three U.S. sleds entered into the competition finished in the top ten. 

 

“It’s really hard to have four consistent heats,” said Rohbock.  “This track changes a lot, so you have to constantly change your driving.  My goal was to be on the podium here, so I’m happy.  This is my home track, and I wanted to be on the podium more than anything.”

 

Team Rohbock was in the lead entering today’s final two heats, and nabbed the silver medal with a four-run combined time of three minutes, 48.60 seconds.  Rohbock navigated her Bo-Dyn sled down the 20-curves of the winding course in 57.12 and 57.43 seconds for the third and fourth runs.

 

Meyers and Valerie Fleming have alternated as push athletes in Rohbock’s sled throughout the season.  Rohbock most recently won gold with Meyers on the 2010 Olympic track in Whistler, British Columbia, and coaches made the difficult decision to place Meyers in Rohbock’s sled for the World Championship event.  Fleming claimed the 2006 Olympic silver medal with Rohbock, and strained her vocal chords cheering with excitement as team USA I crossed the finish line in the final heat. 

 

“It’s awesome that we have this kind of depth of push athletes,” said Rohbock.  “It will be a fight for the four or five push athletes we have to be in the two sleds going to the Olympics.”

 

Meyers helped push Rohbock to the third and second fastest start times of the day, 5.68 and 5.59 seconds.  Out of respect for her teammate, Meyers placed a piece of medical tape on the back of her helmet which had “4 Val” written in black marker.

 

“Valerie is one of my best friends,” said Meyers.  “It was important for Shauna and Valerie to push together in this race, so I felt like it was important for me to do something for them.  I gave everything I had to get us on the podium.”

 

Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke from Great Britain slid the two fastest runs of the day to claim the title.  The British team pushed times of 5.74 and 5.68 for runs of 56.96 and 57.17, respectively.  Minichiello forgot to close her visor at the start in today’s first heat, but managed to release her hand from the D-rings in the chicane to close her shield.  Despite the distraction, Minichiello was able to slide the fastest run of the heat 

 

In third was Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer, the only German team to sneak into the top six.  The German duo slid runs of 57.12 and 57.52 today for a four-run total of 3:48.84. 

 

Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) and teammate Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.) continue to prove they are a force to be reckoned with in international competition, finishing sixth with a four-run total of 3:49.00.  Pac earned her first-ever World Cup medal with Rzepka on the 2010 Olympic track in Whistler two weeks ago, and had her eyes set on the World Championship podium.

 

“This was my best World Championship finish,” said Pac.  “I was hoping to be on the podium, but I’m still young and have a lot of time left in my career as a driver.  I’m really looking forward to next year.”

 

Pac steered her sled to the finish in 57.18 and 57.54 seconds for her final two heats of the season.  Pac and Rzepka dominated the competition at the start, powering off the starting block in 5.65 and 5.57 seconds today in front of a large crowd of friends and family. 

 

“We had great support today,” said Rzepka.  “It makes the sport fun to do.  I can feel and hear the excitement at the start, but as soon as the clock starts, I have tunnel vision.”

 

Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) competed in her first bobsled World Championships today with push athlete Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.).  Schaaf, a skeleton athlete turned bobsled driver, finished tenth with a combined time of 3:50.19. 

 

“It’s been a long season, but it just started for me,” said Schaaf.  “Things didn’t pick up until I won national championships and made the World Cup team, and that’s when things got real.  It was a bittersweet finish, because I was hoping to place higher.”

 

Schaaf and Azevedo pushed start times of 5.76 and 5.69 for runs of 57.48 and 57.53 seconds, respectively, for the third and fourth heats. 

 

“I have never been this nervous for a race before,” said Azevedo.  “I just want to do well for Bree, so I put a lot of pressure on myself.”

 

Today’s final two heats concluded the women’s bobsled 2008-09 season.  For photos of the U.S. women competing in World Championships, visit the web site of photographer Todd Bissonette at www.usabobsledphotos.com

 

Complete results can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing 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. Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke (GBR) 3:48.22 (56.98, 57.11, 56.96, 57.17);  2. Shauna Rohbock and Elana Meyers (USA)  3:48.60 (57.00, 57.05, 57.12, 57.43); 3. Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer (GER) 3:48.84 (57.05, 57.15, 57.12, 57.52);...6. Erin Pac and Michelle Rzepka (USA) 3:49.00 (57.09, 57.19, 57.18, 57.54);...10. Bree Schaaf and Emily Azevedo (USA) 3:50.19  (57.62, 57.56, 57.48, 57.53);

 

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.

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