Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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Uhlaender leads team in fifth
KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 13, 2012)–Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished fifth in the Koenigssee World Cup this morning to once again lead the U.S. women’s skeleton team.
“I’d like to be in the top three, but I feel like things are going in the right direction,” Uhlaender said. “I feel like I’m still making a comeback, but I’m taking my time. I know that I need to keep my form together and could have been smoother in my driving today.”
Uhlaender finished ninth when World Championships were hosted in Koenigssee last season, and she was eager to find redemption. The two-time World Cup champion was within striking distance of the medals after a first heat of 53.83 seconds, and locked herself into fifth after posting a final run of 53.47 seconds. Uhlaender’s combined time of 1:47.30 was just 0.11 seconds from the medals.
“This was another solid result for Katie and I’m really proud of her,” said Tuffy Latour, U.S. skeleton head coach. “Her starts are back to where they need to be, and she’s been balancing her training well. She really put it together this week.”
Uhlaender is a dual athlete, competing in both weightlifting and skeleton in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 and 2014 Olympic Games. After a series of surgeries over the last two seasons, Uhlaender finally feels like she’s getting back into her groove. Uhlaender was once the fastest athlete off the block, and she posted push times of 5.19 and 5.12 seconds to show that she’s beginning to regain her form.
“World Championships, London and Sochi are my goals, so I’m in no rush,” Uhlaender said. “Lifting five days a week and racing is not easy, but I feel like I’m balancing things well. Learning new equipment and training like I am is challenging, but I am happy to be learning so much and look forward to taking that home to Lake Placid for World Championships this season.”
British athlete Shelley Rudman denied the Germans a win on their home track after claiming her first victory of the season. Rudman threaded together the fastest runs of the competition, 53.26 and 52.89 seconds, to win by half a second with a total time of 1:46.15.
Reigning World Champion Marion Thees was the only German to podium after finishing second with a combined time of 1:46.65. Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth posted a two-run total of 1:47.19 to earn bronze.
“Hats off to Shelley, Marion and Mellisa,” Latour said. “This was a well fought race, and they earned their spot today.”
Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) bettered her second run by 0.63 seconds to move up four spots into 15th position with a combined time of 1:49.24 after sliding runs of 54.93 and 54.31 seconds.
Teammate Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) had potential to move up after a first run of 54.64 seconds, but she battled the course from top to finish in the second run to slide into 18th place with a total time of 1:49.93. O’Shea, one of the fastest starters on tour, was unable to find rhythm down the track after bumping the left wall before entering corner one in the second heat.
“Kimber and Annie struggled with the 360-degree Kreisel corner, but this is all just a step in the process,” Latour said. “We’re moving in the right direction, and we’re just hoping to chip away at the points to stay ahead of the third Russian sled.”
The U.S. women need to keep the third Russian sled at bay in order to qualify three sleds at the upcoming 2012 World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.
The women’s bobsled competition is the next event in the Koenigssee World Cup, beginning at noon local time. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 1:46.15 (53.26, 52.89); 2. Marion Thees (GER) 1:46.65 (53.41, 53.24); 3. Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 1:47.19 (53.77, 53.42);…5. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:47.30 (53.83, 53.47);…15. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:49.24 (54.93, 54.31);…18. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:49.93 (54.64, 55.29);
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.