Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 523-1842, ext 106, email@example.com
For Immediate Release
January 16, 2009
Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender Finish in Women’s Skeleton Top Six
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland– The women’s skeleton World Cup circuit continued today on the 1,700-meter track in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) claimed the 2007 World Championship title by the largest margin in women’s skeleton history in St. Moritz, and returned to the natural course today for the first time since claiming the crown for a fifth place finish. Defending World Cup champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished sixth to place two U.S. sleds into the top six results.
“I tried to get myself back into the mode I was in during World Championships, but it’s a different year, I have different goals, and I’ve had a baby since the last time I was here,” said Pikus-Pace. “I just wanted to relax today, and to not have any tension in my stomach and not put any pressure on myself.”
Pikus-Pace slid to the finish with a two-run total of two minutes, 21.97 seconds for fifth place after sliding runs of 1:11.03 and 1:10.94.
“I love longer tracks like this,” said Pikus-Pace. “You can feel the wind as you pick up speed to 135 kilometers per hour, and you can let yourself go and feel free. It feels like you’re flying.”
Pikus-Pace took last season off to have her first child, Lacee Lynne Pace, and has her eyes set on reclaiming the World Championship title this February.
“As soon as I crossed the finish line after the last run my thoughts immediately switched to thinking about birthday cake,” said Pikus-Pace with a laugh. “Lacee’s having her first birthday on Monday, and it will be great to be home to celebrate for a few days before going to the next stop on tour. After that my focus will be on World Championships in Lake Placid, which is my favorite track in the world.”
Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.), the 2007 World Championship bronze medalist, finished sixth with a combined time of 2:22.00 after sliding runs of 1:11.22 and 1:10.78. Despite having knee surgery over the summer, Uhlaender continues to be a threat from start to finish, pushing times of 5.79 and 5.75 seconds.
“This track is a lot of fun, and it brings back the essentials of sliding,” said Uhlaender. “My runs felt solid, and I don’t know why I was slow. My push is coming back, I feel strong, and I have my sights set on dominating in Lake Placid for the World Championships. I know there are two stops before that, but I’m really focused on the world title this year.”
Shelley Rudman from Great Britain was victorious today, claiming gold by a mere 0.09 seconds. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist slid a two-run total of 2:20.50 after clocking runs of 1:10.53 and 1:09.97.
Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth started the season with a bronze medal performance, and added a silver medal to her sliding resume with a combined time of 2:20.59. Hollingsworth slid to the finish in 1:10.43, the fastest time of the first heat, and 1:10.16.
In third was Canadian Michelle Kelly with a total time of 2:21.68 after sliding runs of 1:10.95 and 1:10.73.
U.S. athlete Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho) finished 14th with a total time of 2:24.73 after crossing the finish line in 1:12.85 and 1:11.88. Yamada has continued to grow in the sport, and has one of the fastest start times in the field, clocking push times of 5.73 and 5.70 seconds.
“I’ve been struggling with feeling relaxed and letting the sled run,” said Yamada. “I’m trying to find the balance between getting ampted up at the start, and then learning to relax during the run. I want it so badly that I’m trying too hard.”
Watch the U.S. women’s skeleton team coast down the St. Moritz track by visiting www.UniversalSports.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 information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 2:20.50 (1:10.53, 1:09.97); 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 2:20.59 (1:10.43, 1:10.16); 3. Michelle Kelly (CAN) 2:21.68 (1:10.95, 1:10.73);…5. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 2:21.97 (1:11.03, 1:10.94); 6. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 2:22.00 (1:11.22, 1:10.78);…14. Courtney Yamada (USA) 2:24.73 (1:12.85, 1:11.88);
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 athttp://bobsled.teamusa.org.