Uhlaender victorious in Park City World Cup
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uhlaender victorious in Park City World Cup
PARK CITY, Utah (Nov. 16, 2012)- Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) set the pace for Team USA this weekend by winning the women’s skeleton World Cup race at the Utah Olympic Park this morning. It was more than another win for the two-time Olympian, but a race to the finish in honor of her late father, Ted Uhlaender.
“I feel like finally I was able to let go of the fact that my father’s no longer here, which has brought me closer to him and has motivated me even more to keep his legacy alive,” Uhlaender said. “This is all he wanted. He just wanted me to win. Anytime I called him at the hospital in ’09, he was like, ‘Why aren’t you winning?’ Well, now I am, dad.”
Ted Uhlaender was a major league baseball outfielder and scout, and he lost his battle to cancer the day Katie Uhlaender earned silver in the Park City World Cup in 2009. Uhlaender has one of her father’s baseball cards taped to her sled and wears his 1972 National League Championship ring when she races.
“He’s the only one I felt like really understood what I did, what I went through, and he was the person I turned to whenever I had doubts,” Uhlaender said. “He knew what it took. So when I got my first Olympic ring, he compared it to earning his first championship ring. My family found it appropriate that I race with it to keep him close to me.”
She said she was “in a really dark place for a long time,” and felt like she “broke the curse” of unfortunate events by winning World Championships in Lake Placid last season.
“I was really bitter, really angry,” Uhlaender said. “My father was my foundation, and for him to be gone-not be there to walk me down the aisle, not there to see me at the Olympics- I just hope that he’s here now. I think he is.”
Uhlaender trailed emerging British star Elizabeth Yarnold by 0.12 seconds after the first run. Undeterred, Uhlaender’s competitive drive kicked in she and raced to the finish with a run of 50.45 seconds. She stood in the leader’s box and waited for Yarnold to take the last run of the competition.
Yarnold made a few small mistakes down the course and fell back to Uhlaender by just 0.01 seconds. Uhlaender earned her first win of the season with a combined time of 1:40.93.
“That was nerve-wracking,” Uhlaender “It was almost like watching a scary movie and not wanting to really look. I can’t believe it was by a hundredth.”
Yarnold finished second, and Germany’s Anja Huber clocked a total time of 1:41.21 for third.
Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) was within reach of a top six finish on her home track, but a misstep off the starting block in the second heat cost her valuable time. Gabryszak hesitated after the slip and considered bringing the sled back to restart, but she wasn’t sure how much time was left on the clock and continued running. Athletes have 30-seconds from the time the track is cleared to cross the first timing eye, and can bring the sled back to the starting block if there is a mistake before the first interval is clocked.
“I had a slip and hesitated,” Gabryszak said. “I could have brought the sled back. I should have. But I thought I was running out of time, so I just kept going. Anything like that, it just distracts you the rest of the way... it’s kind of heartbreaking on my home track.”
Gabryszak’s push time was nearly a tenth slower as a result, and she slid into 15th place with a combined time of 1:42.18.
“I’m a little upset,” Gabryszak said. “I’ll just have to grieve a little bit and then it’ll be time to move onto the next race. People think it’s easy to race on your home ice, but the pressure is actually a lot higher because everyone expects you to do really well. It was a little bit rough today.”
Racing continues at the Utah Olympic Park today with men’s two-man bobsled at 1 p.m. and women’s bobsled at 5 p.m. The final heat will be broadcast live on Universal Sports.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:40.93 (50.48, 50.45); 2. Elizabeth Yarnold (GBR) 1:40.94 (50.36, 50.58); 3. Anja Huber (GER) 1:41.21 (50.66, 50.55);…15. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:42.18 (50.89, 51.29);
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, WIDIA, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Azad Watches, Latta Kefir, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.