Feb. 10 U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team official training quotes

Feb. 10, 2014, 7:03 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

Feb. 10 U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team official training quotes

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 10, 2014): The U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team took their first official training runs at the Sanki Sliding Center today. Here are some of their reactions:

Tuffy Latour (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), head coach

On whether or not the medal performances last season mean the team has the course dialed in:

“Each year is a new year. It’s always dependent on how the track is set up; the ice is always shaped a little bit differently. It’s shaped for luge right now and it’s a little bit easier, so we’ll see. We’ve got our game day plan and we’re just going to go with that.”

“We’re going with the same game plan every year. One corner at a time, focusing on the process.”

About the nerves the coaching staff feels going into the Olympic competition:

“I think the coaches are a lot more nervous than the athletes, especially for the first heat of the race. Again, it seems natural for me now to be at the games. After four games it’s more of- I don’t want to say a routine, but you know what to expect now. For those first-timers, it’s always very difficult.”

Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.)

After a Twitter vote to choose which helmet she will wear for the Olympic competition, Uhlaender announced during training that the winner was the helmet designed by alpine ski Olympic champion Picabo Street’s designer:

“She is an inspiration for me.  She offered to hook me up with her guy that painted her 2002 helmet, and this is what he came up with…I decided to tally up votes and this is the winner.  I started sliding with it two days ago.”

How she feels on the track:

“I feel really good. I’m not quite as smooth as I want to be yet and I’m testing equipment. The weather is so different. It’s warm, so sometimes there is a top layer on the ice, but they really figuring out how to make hard ice underneath that, so it’s deciding whether or not you want to cut down to that hard ice or stay on top. It will depend on humidity and temperature. I’ve got a set picked for tomorrow and then it’s on.”

Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.)

How he felt about his runs today:

“Things are definitely going well. Yesterday was a rough day of training and we scratched our heads a little bit about why we were so slow. We changed a few things around with runners to try some new combinations. The weather is changing frequently, and it’s going to be warmer for the race, so we have to find something that is going to work well with the warmer ice. It’s only training today, but it’s two runs I felt pretty good about.”

“The gold is the goal. I just have to do my best and we’ll see how it shakes out.”

John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.)

About his equipment setup:

“I think I found something that worked. I’ll probably stick with it for a little bit. I don’t know how much changing I’ll do. It’s kind of between one set of runners and another, so it’s not too big of a decision. They are both fast, so I know that I will have no one to blame but me.”

“We definitely went with the fastest setup we could, so it’s just a matter of whether or not we can control it.”

Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.)

How he felt about his runs:

“Speed was good, times were good, I just had problems at the bottom. It’s such a crucial part of this track and I know I can fix it, but I know I’m fast if I don’t fix it.  It’s a ton of optimism for me.”

“Curve 14, which is sort of coming downhill, and as you come out of that curve it starts to go up and then back down. It’s kind of this rollercoaster effect. It’s really important, and that’s what’s going to make or break this race- corners 11 to 14.”

Time sheets from today’s training runs can be found here.

Skeleton official training continues Tuesday and Wednesday.  The women train from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and the men follow from 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. The women have the first two competitive heats on Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m.

Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 719-207-5040 with media inquiries.

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: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real Estate, CEVA Logistics, 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.