U.S. Takes Bronze in World Championship Team Event

Feb. 22, 2009, 5 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

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


For Immediate Release

February 22, 2009


U.S. Takes Bronze in World Championship Team Event


Lake Placid, N.Y.– The U.S. squad combined forces to claim bronze in the World Championship team event today at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y. to conclude the first weekend of competitions.  The U.S. has won three medals in all three events so far, including silver and two bronze.  


“We’ve had a solid start to the World Championships,” said Darrin Steele, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO.  “Our athletes and coaches expect to be fighting for a gold medal in every event, and we have good momentum going into next weekend.”


Four disciplines-men’s skeleton, women’s bobsled, women’s skeleton and men’s two-man bobsled- took one run each for their respective nations.  The team with the lowest combined time was declared the winner. 


The U.S. entered two teams into the event, and both finished in the top six results.  Team USA I claimed bronze with a combined time of three minutes, 45.66 seconds.  Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) kicked off the competition in the men’s skeleton field, finishing with a time of 54.90 seconds.  Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) and Valerie Fleming (Park City, Utah) slid the second heat in the women’s bobsled discipline, and crossed the finish in 57.67 seconds.  Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) slid a run of 57.00 seconds in women’s skeleton, and the men’s two-man bobsled team of Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) secured the bronze medal with a run of 56.09 seconds. 


“This helps set the tone for us,” said Bernotas.  “We have a lot of great sliders on this team, and it makes it exciting.  Everyone is really enjoying it, and we feed off one another.  This is a great opportunity to challenge us and to get us into race mode.”


While women’s bobsled and men’s two-man bobsled has wrapped up, the skeleton and four-man bobsled events are set to take place from February 26-March 1. 


The Germans claimed the team title with a total time of 3:45.41.  Frank Rommel led the men’s skeleton field with a run of 54.89, while Sandra Kiriasis and Patricia Polifka struggled in the women’s bobsled heat with a time of 58.01.  Marion Trott helped the German team reclaim the leader’s position with a run of 56.46, while Thomas Florschutz and Andreas Barucha locked down the gold with a time of 56.05. 


In second was team Switzerland, comprised of Gregor Staehli in men’s skeleton, Sabina Hafner and Anne Dietrich in women’s bobsled, Maya Pedersen in women’s skeleton, Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand in men’s bobsled.  The Swiss squad slid a four-run total of 3:45.65 for the silver medal. 


In sixth with a combined time of 3:46.20 was the U.S. team of Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) in men’s skeleton, Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) and Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.) in women’s bobsled, Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) in women’s skeleton, and the duo of Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) and T.J. Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) in men’s bobsled. 


“I love competing in the team event,” said Pac.  “Being able to cheer for your team is the best part about competing.  I am always nervous to race, but it’s good nerves.  It helps push you, and this was a great way to end the season.”


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. 



1. (GER) 3:45.41: Frank Rommel/Men’s Skeleton (54.89), Sandra Kiriasis and Patricia Polifka/Women’s Bobsled (58.01), Marion Trott/Women’s Skeleton (56.46), Thomas Florschutz and Andrea Barucha/ Men’s Bobsled (56.05);

2. (SUI) 3:45.65: Gregor Staehli/Men’s Skeleton (55.15), Sabina Hafner and Anne Dietrich/Women’s Bobsled (57.90), Maya Pederson/Women’s Skeleton (56.82), Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand/Men’s Bobsled (55.78);

3. (USA) 3:45.66: Eric Bernotas/Men’s Skeleton (54.90), Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming/Women’s Bobsled (57.67), Katie Uhlaender/Women’s Skeleton (57.00), Steven Holcomb and Justin Olsen/Men’s Bobsled (56.09);

6. (USA) 3:46.32: Matt Antoine/Men’s Skeleton (55.05), Erin Pac and Michelle Rzepka/Women’s Bobsled (57.81), Noelle Pikus-Pace/Women’s Skeleton (57.08), Todd Hays and T.J. Burns/Men’s Bobsled (56.26);



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.