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Uhlaender leads women’s skeleton World Championships
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Feb. 23, 2012)–Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) leads by 0.18 seconds after the first day of women’s skeleton World Championships at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. The two-time Olympian has balanced competing in skeleton and weightlifting all season with the goal of peaking for these World Championships and weightlifting Olympic trials, which take place next week in Columbus, Ohio.
“It has been a very mentally challenging season pushing through and trying to keep the big picture in mind,” Uhlaender said. “My coaches have told me all season to stay present, stay in the moment, and know what I need to do. Anytime I started to get ahead of myself even on the run, I just reminded myself to stay present and handle it as it comes.”
Uhlaender chose to be first in the start order at the race draw meeting yesterday, and she set the pace for the competition with a run of 55.54 seconds. Only British athlete Shelley Rudman, who pocketed the World Cup title two weeks ago, could better Uhlaender’s time by with a run of 55.48 seconds.
“I wanted the closest number to first off as possible,” Uhlaender said. “With no other times and only myself in the track, starting first is actually a beautiful moment with a clean slate and the freshest ice possible.”
Uhlaender hasn’t posted a top two finish since a 2009 World Cup race in Park City, Utah, but the veteran wasn’t going to settle for second best today. She burst off the block with a start time of 5.36 seconds and raced to the finish in 55.49 seconds to take the lead.
“It was a great day, and I had a lot of fun,” Uhlaender said. “I can’t tell you how fun the track is. Every time I turned out of a corner I was thinking of half pipe walls at home in Breckenridge.”
Uhlaender enters tomorrow in first with a combined time of 1:51.03. Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth capped the first day of competition in second place with a total time of 1:51.21, while Rudman was bumped into third position with a two-run total of 1:51.48.
“Tomorrow I am going to take the same approach-stay in the moment, stay present and not get ahead of myself,” Uhlaender said. “I think that is the key to performing.”
Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) was the fastest competitor off the starting block with push times of 5.33 and 5.30 seconds. O’Shea made a detrimental mistake out of corner one in the first heat to put her into 13th position, but she was able to move up to tie Canadian Amy Gough for 12th place after the second run.
“In the first run I made a huge mistake at the top, and with all these girls you just can’t make a mistake,” O’Shea said. “That really cost me because my run was amazing other than that. So I tried to get it back for the second run, and I corrected my mistake but then I made two others and it’s really close and tough.”
O’Shea will enter tomorrow’s finals with a combined time of 1:52.33. Racing will resume at 9:45 am at the Olympic Sports Complex.
“I can make up a little bit,” O’Shea said. “I just have to have two solid runs tomorrow, and that’s my goal- don’t make mistakes and slide like I know I can here. I love this place; I know I can do a lot better tomorrow.”
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1. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:51.03 (55.54, 55.49); 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 1:51.21 (55.64, 55.57); 3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:51.48 (55.48, 56.00);…12. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:52.33 (56.20, 56.13);
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