Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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Uhlaender and O’Shea conclude World Cup with top 10 finishes
CALGARY, Canada (Feb. 9, 2012)– Both Americans posted top 10 finishes in the women’s skeleton World Cup finale at the Calgary Olympic Park today. Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) finished eighth and ninth, respectively, to wrap up the season before heading to 2012 World Championships on home ice in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“It’s been a bittersweet season,” Uhlaender said. “I’ve been torn in half focusing on weightlifting and skeleton, and I’ve been taking it one day at a time. My goals this season were to succeed at World Championships and Olympic trials, and I’ve given it everything I’ve got. I am so grateful to our coaching staff and all the people that have given me support throughout this season.”
Uhlaender missed the first race of the season to compete in a weightlifting competition because the already two-time Olympian has her sights set on the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. She said that weightlifting has been great cross training for skeleton and has helped her gain strength after a series of injuries and surgeries.
“I have more stability because of weightlifting which has helped me overcome muscle atrophy after I shattered my kneecap,” Uhlaender said. “I think things are coming together for me. I knew competing in two sports was going to be difficult, but I didn’t anticipate how overwhelming it was going to be. But, compared to competing while injured, I’ll take this kind of challenge any day.”
Uhlaender displayed her strength at the start by posting identical start times of 5.43 seconds before sliding to the finish in 58.48 and 58.39 seconds. She clocked a total time of 1:56.87 to finish eighth. Uhlaender said she’s pleased with the top 10 finish, regardless of it being her worst result in Calgary, while handling an “overwhelming workload.” Uhlaender missed two World Cup races this season but still finished ranked 11th in final standings.
O’Shea finished just 0.12 seconds from her teammate for ninth position. Despite again proving her prowess by posting start times of 5.41 and 5.40 seconds to lead the field off the block, O’Shea was disappointed with her pushes.
“I don’t like it when everyone is that close to me off the block,” O’Shea said. “I think I could have done better.”
Germany’s Anja Huber and Swiss athlete Marina Gilardoni both posted start times of 5.41 seconds to close in on O’Shea’s blistering start times. O’Shea was within striking distance of a top six finish after clocking a first run of 58.52 seconds, but she fell back one position in the final heat after bumping the wall out of corner one to finish with a total time of 1:56.99. O’Shea wrapped up the season ranked eighth in World Cup standings.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season,” said O’Shea, who claimed her first World Cup medal of her career earlier this season in La Plagne, France. “A top ten finish today was good considering the mistakes I made. I feel like I learned a lot about myself this season, and I’m really looking forward to going to Lake Placid and sliding at home.”
World Junior Champion Elizabeth Yarnold scored her second victory of the season after leading the field by a huge margin of 0.54 seconds. The emerging British athlete is only competing in her second season and learned the Calgary course just this week, but she took the lead ahead of veteran champions with a combined time of 1:55.93.
Last year’s winner Huber claimed silver after clocking a two-run total of 1:56.47. British star and Olympic medalist Shelley Rudman posted a cumulative time of 1:56.57 to tie Canadian Amy Gough for bronze. Rudman’s medal helped her finally claim the World Cup title after finishing as the runner-up over the last three seasons.
The men’s skeleton competition is up next at 6 pm local time. Check out the action live from Calgary by visiting www.fibt.com, or watch the events one-day delayed on Universal Sports. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Elizabeth Yarnold (GBR) 1:55.93 (58.03, 57.90); 2. Anja Huber (GER) 1:56.47 (58.29, 58.18); 3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:56.57 (58.29, 58.28); 3. Amy Gough (CAN) 1:56.57 (58.41, 58.16);…8. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:56.87 (58.48, 58.39); 9. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:56.99 (58.52, 58.47);
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, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.