Antoine earns bronze and Tress finishes fifth in St. Moritz World Cup
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Antoine earns bronze, Tress finishes fifth in St. Moritz World Cup
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 10, 2014)- Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) solidified himself as a medal favorite for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games after claiming bronze, his third medal this season, in the St. Moritz men’s skeleton World Cup race this morning. Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) had a breakthrough performance today by matching his career-best fifth place finish from Lake Placid, N.Y. last season with a fifth place result today.
“It’s really nice to see two of our athletes in the top six results,” said Tuffy Latour, U.S. skeleton head coach. “What a great race for Matt and Kyle and it’s a good day to be a coach.”
Antoine was disappointed with his first push time of 5.05 seconds, but a nearly perfect run of 1:09.90 put him in third, just 0.02 seconds from silver medal position. Antoine improved his start time by 0.11 seconds in the final heat to make up ground against the competition in a sport measured by hundredths of a second. He made a few mistakes on the bottom section of the course, but Antoine held onto third place with a two-run total of 2:19.98.
“I was a little surprised to hold onto third,” Antoine said. “I was disappointed with my first push, but I had a good drive that kept me in position to medal. I made up time in my push on the second run, but made some mistakes on the bottom. Fortunately, with a better push I could afford those mistakes to keep my spot, but it put me out of contention for moving up.”
After recovering from knee surgery last season, Antoine was hungry to regain top form and has been a staple on the men’s skeleton podium this year. He claimed bronze in Park City, Utah, earned his first career World Cup victory in Lake Placid, N.Y., and was on the cusp of medaling last week with a fourth place finish.
“Things are going well and it’s coming together,” Antoine said. “I want to keep progressing from here. It’s nice to be consistent, and I now expect to be in medal contention week in and week out.”
Tress was in sixth place after a first run 1:10.22 and was eager to maintain position or move up in the final heat. He clocked a consistent time of 1:10.28, which was fast enough to help him gain one spot. Tress jumped into fifth with a two-run total of 2:20.50 to match his career-best finish.
Tress has been steadily inching towards a top-six finish this season, and was close with a seventh place result on his home track in Lake Placid last month. His best finish to-date was fifth in Lake Placid during the 2012-2013 season, and Tress said he felt great adding another fifth place result to his resume today.
“I love this track and it’s a home away from home for me,” Tress said. “I’ve had good results here in the past and knew this weekend was important for my qualification for the Olympics. Originally the double race was scheduled for Lake Placid, which I was thrilled by, but when it was changed to St. Moritz I was really pleased.”
It was a battle of the Latvian brothers for gold and silver. Martins Dukurs was victorious once again with a total time of 2:19.18. Tomass Dukurs led after the first run, but fell back 0.26 seconds to his brother in the final heat into second place with a combined time of 2:19.44.
John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) had a rough exit at the corner of Horseshoe and a troubling bottom half of the course before clocking the 23rd fastest time of the first heat, 1:11.21. Daly unfortunately did not qualify for the second heat, but he’ll get another chance to podium in St. Moritz with a second men’s skeleton race on Sunday. All three U.S. men’s skeleton athletes are looking forward to another chance to race on the world’s only natural ice track again.
“This is such a unique track,” Antoine said. “It’s smooth and quiet on the natural ice and unlike anything else in the world. Coming here you’re reminded of why you love the sport and feel like a kid sledding on a hill again.”
The St. Moritz World Cup continues tomorrow with women’s skeleton, women’s bobsled and men’s two-man bobsled racing. Competitions begin at 8:30 a.m. local time, and the event can be viewed live on the International Bobsled and Skeleton International Youtube channel, Bobsleigh and Skeleton TV, or via same day delay on Universal Sports.
The skeleton Olympic team nomination is just eight days away. The team will be named following the Igls, Austria World Cup races next week.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 2:19.18 (1:09.88, 1:09.30); 2. Tomass Dukurs (LAT) 2:19.44 (1:09.74, 1:09.70); 3. Matt Antoine (USA) 2:19.87 (1:09.90, 1:09.97);…5. Kyle Tress (USA) 2:20.50 (1:10.22, 1:10.28);…23. John Daly (USA) (1:11.21, DNS);
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