|KÖNIGSSEE, Germany– The second half of the 2008-09 men’s skeleton World Cup kicked off in Königssee, Germany today. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) joined the World Cup circuit after the holiday break as the second ranked U.S. athlete, and finished eighth as the highest North American finisher.|
Antoine helped the U.S. win a bronze medal last year in Königssee’s World Cup team event, and returned to the tricky course today to tie for eighth in his first-ever men’s skeleton individual World Cup event.
“I definitely think competing in the team event last season helped me, because I knew what to expect,” said Antoine. “None of it phased me, so I wasn’t nervous. I tried not to put pressure on myself, and had a great experience.”
Antoine, the 2008 Intercontinental Cup champion, crossed the final timing eye with a combined time of one minute, 36.66 seconds. The young athlete pushed start times of 4.82 and 4.83 for runs of 48.40 and 48.26, respectively.
“My runs were great, and I’m really happy with how I slid today,” said Antoine. “My training was hit or miss, but we discussed the course last night and I was able to make the necessary changes in the race. I was really happy to have the opportunity to race against the best in the world, and I knew that it didn’t matter what anyone else did on the track, because I only had control over my own runs.”
Frank Rommel from Germany continues to dominate the men’s skeleton tour, claiming gold with a total time of 1:34.91 after sliding the fastest runs of the competition, a 47.44 and 47.47. German teammate Florian Grassl slid a silver medal performance after crossing the finish line in 47.85 and 48.06 seconds for a combined time of 1:35.91. The “Russian Rocket,” Alexander Tretiakov, finished third with a total time of 1:36.03 (48.20, 47.83).
2007 World Cup champion Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) was training in the top six this week, but finished 14th today with a two-run total of 1:37.17 after sliding runs of 48.57 and 48.60. Rommel broke the track record today with a run of 47.44 seconds, breaking the previous time set by Lund during the 2006-07 season.
“I trained really well this week, and I was feeling great after the break,” said Lund. “But I didn’t perform well today, and the results show it. I got what I deserved, and it was just a bad day. This is the worst season in my career. I’ve been on top for three years, so this has been a difficult start to the year. I realize there’s a lot of potential still for this year, and I’m planning on building momentum towards World Championships.”
Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) finished 0.22 seconds from his teammate to finish 15th with a total time of 1:37.39 after sliding times of 49.00 and 48.39 seconds.
“This is a tough track, because small mistakes will cost you a lot,” said Bernotas. “It’s been a rough ride this season, but we’re not going to let that stop us. It may not look that way based on results, but we’ve been working together really well and we’re not giving up. I’m disappointed, of course, but now I need to focus on the next race.
“Matt also did an awesome job today,” said Bernotas. “I’m really happy for him, and it’s nice having someone pushing us to do better.”
The skeleton tour will depart for the next World Cup competition in St. Moritz, Swizterland, which will be held from Jan. 16-17.
Complete results can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing at www.fibt.com. Watch today’s results on-demand by visiting www.UniversalSports.com.
For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Frank Rommel (GER) 1:34.91 (47.44, 47.47); 2. Florian Grassl (GER) 1:35.91 (47.85, 48.06); 3. Alexander Tretiakov (RUA) 1:36.03 (48.20, 47.83);…8. Matt Antoine (USA) 1:36.66 (48.40, 48.26);…14. Zach Lund (USA) 1:37.17 (48.57, 48.60); 15. Eric Bernotas (USA) 1:37.39 (49.00, 48.39);
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.