Pikus-Pace obliterates track record for gold and Antoine earns bronze
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
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Pikus-Pace obliterates track record to win women’s skeleton World Cup; Antoine claims bronze in men’s race
PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 6. 2013)- Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) obliterated a 12-year track record by 0.17 seconds to claim the women’s skeleton World Cup gold medal in front of a home crowd in Park City, Utah this morning. After a heartbreaking disqualification following her winning runs in last week’s World Cup opener in Calgary Canada, Pikus-Pace was determined to prove that nothing could stop her in the Olympic season.
“As I stood up there [at the start] the only thing going through my mind was that I’m going to throw it down and I’m going to bring it,” Pikus-Pace said.
Bring it she did. Without any points this season, Pikus-Pace was last off in the first run start order. Ice conditions are optimal for the first competitors down the hill, and competitors that start later in the order often struggle to climb into the medals. That was not the case for Pikus-Pace, who climbed from 24th position into the lead after a record-breaking run of 49.80 seconds.
“It was incredible, Pikus-Pace said. “This was the fastest ice I’ve ever been on here. I’ve been chasing this record for 15 years and to now lay it down on what will most definitely be my last run on this track is something pretty special to me.”
The record didn’t stand for long. Pikus-Pace not only maintained her lead in the final run, but extended it by 0.68 seconds with another record-breaking run of 49.74 seconds. Canada’s Michelle Kelly set the former record, 49.91 seconds, in Feb. 2001. Pikus-Pace had yet to win a World Cup on her home track until today, and she did so dominantly with a two-run total of 1:39.54.
“My husband built me an incredible sled and I have great sponsors. I have incredible support. Mentally I was a train wreck all week from high to low to high to low,” Pikus-Pace said. “I am very fortunate to have a great husband, coaches, and trainers to help keep me focused.”
Pikus-Pace was disqualified last weekend after her sled failed a post-race inspection due to extra tape around her handles.
“I know I have integrity and I know I would never do anything to jeopardize my reputation as well as those that support me,” Pikus-Pace said. “I know when I compete I compete fair and I compete clean. I know I’ve given it my best whether I win or lose.”
Elizabeth Yarnold from Great Britain was runner-up (1:40.22), and Canadian Sarah Reid was third (1:40.60).
Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) is struggling with injuries sustained during a training run this fall. Uhlaender finished 14th with a combined time of 1:41.39.
Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) claimed his third-career World Cup medal after sliding a bronze medal performance in the men’s race. Antoine was in third position after a first run of 48.95 seconds, sandwiched between Russians Alexander Tretiakov in second and Sergei Chudinov in fourth in a tight contest for a spot on the medal stand.
Antoine threw down the fastest time of the second heat, 48.78 seconds, to guarantee medal position with a combined time of 1:37.73. Antoine battled back from knee surgery last off-season and has ridden a wave of ups and downs, but said he feels like he’s finally on top of his game heading into the Olympic year.
“It feels great to be back on the podium,” Antoine said. “Last week was a bit of a disappointment. I felt like I could of medaled but had a pretty rough second run. I took a day and then got back with the coaches to come up with a game plan for this week. We decided I need to go-for-broke and not be conservative. We got aggressive this week and changed a few things with my push and made a decision last night to switch to a set of runners that I have never used before. I feel like it paid off today.”
Reigning World Cup champion Martins Dukurs, nicknamed “Superman” for his dominance in the sport, faltered today. After breaking the track record in the first run with a 48.58 seconds, Dukurs could only muster the seventh best time in the second heat. He dropped into second position with a total time of 1:37.71. Tretiakov was today’s leader by 0.12 seconds with a two-run total of 1:37.59.
Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) finished 15th and 16th, respectfully. Tress clocked a combined time of 1:38.71, and Daly’s total time was 1:38.81.
World Cup continues this afternoon with the men’s and women’s two-man bobsled competitions starting at 3 pm MT. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:37.59 (43.67, 43.60); 2. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 1:37.71 (48.58, 49.13); 3. Matthew Antoine (USA) 1:37.73 (48.95, 48.78);…15. Kyle Tress (USA) 138.71 (49.37, 49.34); 16. John Daly (USA) 138.81 (49.35, 49.46)
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:39.54 (49.80, 49.74); 2. Elizabeth Yarnold (GBR) 140.22 (50.08, 50.14); 3. Sarah Reid (CAN) 140.60 (50.19, 50.41);…14. Katie Uhlaender 141.39 (50.69, 50.70);
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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: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real Estate, CEVA, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, 24 Hour Fitness, KBC Helmets, Eastern European Distribution Company, Azad Watches, Latta USA, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, Inc., EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.