Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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World Cup season concludes with four-man in Calgary
CALGARY, Canada (Feb. 11, 2012)– Rookie pilots Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) concluded the World Cup season in the Calgary four-man bobsled competition tonight. Both drivers were eager to display the team’s depth when granted the opportunity to race in the Canadian World Cup events. Butner and Cunningham collectively claimed 21 medals on the America’s Cup circuit to earn the U.S. a third men’s sled at the 2012 World Championships on home ice in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“We wanted to make a statement and let the world know that the U.S. has some emerging drivers in the program,” Cunningham said. “This was really a breakout season for both of us. We started out competing against each other, and then midway through the season we started to help each other as a team to qualify the third spot with hopes of medaling. Now we’re looking ahead to Worlds on our home track.”
Cunningham made his World Cup debut just last week, and he teamed with a rookie crew of Adam Blandford (West Chester, Ohio), Kevin Ives (Stafford, Va.) and Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.) for 17th place. Tonight was the first time Cunningham, Blandford, Ives and Taylor have teamed together, and the crew showed their potential by pushing start times of 5.26 and 5.27 seconds. Cunningham pieced together two consistent runs of 55.07 and 55.04 seconds for a combined total of 1:50.11.
“Tonight was good,” Cunningham said. “I’m proud of these guys for giving it everything they had to mesh as a team so quickly, and we really had nothing to lose. I made some mistakes that I’m pretty frustrated with, and I think we could have finished better, but it is what it is.”
Butner and his team of Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) were gunning for a top 10 finish after a first run of 54.64 seconds. Butner was en route to a blistering second run, but a late entrance into corner 12 turned the sled over at the exit. None of the athletes were injured, but the team was disqualified.
“I feel really bad because my team stepped it up and pushed great starts, and I made a mistake that I shouldn’t have,” Butner said. “I guess it’s part of the learning curve and I’m going to experience some growing pains, but I’m frustrated. I could feel that we were picking up time when we exited corner eight, but I just missed the entrance to 12. I tried to save it, but couldn’t.”
German Manuel Machata clocked a total time of 1:47.73 to finish 0.28 seconds ahead of his teammate Maximilian Arndt for tonight’s win. Alexander Zubkov earned bronze for Russia with two-run total of 1:48.13 to secure the overall four-man bobsled title. Arndt finished second in four-man standings, but he was the recipient of the combined two and four-man points trophy. Machata wrapped up the season ranked third.
Despite missing two World Cup races to prepare for the upcoming World Championships, Steven Holcomb and John Napier still finished the season ranked seventh and 14th, respectively, in four-man standings.
The U.S. team selection committee will meet tomorrow to review results before naming the team. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Machata, Huebenbecker, Bredau and Poser (GER) 1:47.73 (53.66, 54.06); 2. Arndt, Speer, Kuske and Putze (GER) 1:48.00 (53.68, 54.32); 3. Zubkov, Egorov, Trunenkov and Mokrous (RUS) 1:48.13 (53.73, 54.40);…17. Cunningham, Blandford, Ives and Taylor (USA) 1:50.11 (55.07, 55.04);…Butner, Berkeley, Quinn and Robinson (USA) (54.64, DSQ);
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.