Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 523-1842, ext 106, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2009
Uhlaender Concludes Trying Season Lake Placid, N.Y.- Katie Uhlaender
(Breckenridge, Colo.) capped an emotional season today, finishing seventh in the women's skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. After Uhlaender crossed the finish line in her final run at the Olympic Sports Complex, the two-time World Cup champion embraced her brothers, Scott and Will, in the rain.
Just a little over two weeks ago Uhlaender's father and mentor, Ted, passed away. Uhlaender attended the service last week before returning to Lake Placid to compete in World Championships to fulfill her father's wishes. Ted Uhlaender encouraged his daughter to continue pursuing her dream rather than remain home after he was di agnosed with bone marrow cancer last year.
"This season was probably one of the hardest seasons I've had to deal with, and this race was the first reality that my father is gone because he never would have missed this race," said Uhlaender through tears. "I screwed up the first heat yesterday because I felt like he was going to show up and I looked up and he wasn't there. Then I broke down."
Uhlaender entered today's final heats in 12th position. The veteran slider put together runs of 57.61 and 58.27 seconds, fourth and seventh best runs the day, to move into seventh with a four-run total of three minutes, 49.32 seconds.
"I'm still not where I want to be, but given the circumstances I think I was able to put together the last two runs," said Uhlaender.
Two of Uhlaender's brothers, Scott and Will, stood by her side, holding back tears while supporting their sister as she spoke with the media.
"It helped to have my brothers here," said Uhlaender. "I think I'm more excited for next season because I know that's what my dad was focused on."
Uhlaender will now return to the family farm in Kansas with her family to sort through her father's things. The stoic athlete took a few moments to recollect between thoughts, allowing tears to roll down her cheeks.
"I'd like to go home to rest and mourn," said Uhlaender. "It's only been two weeks, and it's hard knowing that he's not goi ng to be back."
Despite an emotional year, Uhlaender finished the World Cup season ranked third, and finished just three-hundredths of a second from the top six in today's competition.
Germany's Marion Trott maintained her lead with a combined time of 3:47.97 to be crowned 2009 World Champion. The recently named World Cup champion slid final runs of 57.21 and 58.47 to sweep the women's skeleton titles.
"This is unbelievable, maybe next week I can know what happened," said Trott. "My last run was the best, but the weather conditions were not good. I knew with the rain that it would be hard."
Amy Williams from Great Britain moved into second place after crossing the finish line in 57.59 and 58.03 seconds to deny the Germans a sweep of the podium with a total time of 3:48.56. German Kerstin Szymkowiak snuck into the top three to claim the bronze medal with a four-run total of 3:48.61 after sliding runs of 57.28 and 58.26 in the final two heats. Noelle Pikus-Pace
(Orem, Utah) moved into eighth place with a four-run combined time of 3:49.46 after sliding final runs of 57.61 and 58.42 seconds.
"I felt like I had two really good solid runs today," said Pikus-Pace. "All in all I'm really happy with how I did personally. What I love about this sport is that it?s me trying to beat myself."
Pikus-Pace said that the U.S. women warmed up together this morning at the Olympic Training Center, fostering=2 0team camaraderie.
"We all stepped it up," said Pikus-Pace. "The rain was a factor in this last run, but we did the best we could as a team." Keslie Tomlinson
(Potomac Falls, Va.) finished her second World Championship event in 16th, and with two personal best start times.
"I'm definitely taking the positives out of this weekend," said Tomlinson. "I had two personal best start times, and I'm really excited about that. I thought I had some decent runs, although I had some trouble at the bottom of the track. Today was a big improvement from yesterday, and I'm really looking forward to next year."
Tomlinson pushed start times of 5.55 and 5.60 for final runs of 58.04 and 58.99 seconds, respectively.
The women's skeleton final two heats were broadcast live on www.Universalsports.com
, and can be viewed on demand. For photos of the U.S. women in action, 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 informati on, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or email@example.com
1. Marion Trott (GER) 3:47.97 (55.45, 56.84, 57.21, 58.47)); 2. Amy Williams (GBR) 3:48.56 (55.77, 57.17, 57.59, 58.03); 3. Kerstin Szymkowiak (GER) 3:48.61 (56.17, 56.90, 57.28, 58.26);...7. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 3:49.32 (56.41, 57.03, 57.61, 58.27); 8. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 3:49.46 (56.21, 57.22, 57.61, 58.42);...16. Keslie Tomlinson (USA) 3:50.98 (56.53, 57.42, 58.04, 58.99); 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