Dellemann and OShea lead Intercontinental Cup team in Igls
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Dellemann and O’Shea lead Intercontinental Cup team in Igls
IGLS, Austria (Jan. 6, 2013) — Mike Dellemann (Oregon, Wisc.) and Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) led the Intercontinental Cup skeleton team with seventh and 10th place finishes, respectively, in Igls, Austria. Two races were held over two days from Jan. 5-6, and the U.S. team was up against a competitive field of champions that elected to race in Igls, host of the upcoming 2013 European Championships, instead of the World Cup event in Altenberg, Germany.
“We had some tough competition here,” said U.S. Intercontinental Cup coach Brian McDonald. “Even though Igls is considered an easy track, it is also a frustrating track at the same time. This proved to be the case over the last two days of racing here.”
The athletes in Igls raced in similar conditions as the World Cup competitors in Altenberg as heavy rain fell steadily throughout the first competition. The varying conditions were challenging for some of the newer athletes on the U.S. team like Dellemann.
“First race it was raining pretty hard and I really didn’t have much experience with that kind of weather, so it caught me off guard a bit,” Dellemann said.
Dellemann’s first run yesterday was only 18th best of the men’s heat. The third-year slider gained composure and posted the seventh fastest time of the final heat to move into 12th with a total time of 1:51.34. Dellemann felt better prepared for the conditions in today’s race, and clocked the seventh best times in both heats to finish seventh with a combined time of 1:50.21 to lead the U.S. team.
“I was much more prepared second race, and I was very happy with my positioning after the first run considering the high level of talent here,” Dellemann said. “I didn’t move up into medal position, which was a little disappointing, but overall I am very happy with the results.”
Olympic medalist Alexander Tretiakov, nicknamed the “Russian Rocket” for his speedy start times, swept the men’s races with total times of 1:49.44 and 1:48.56. His Russian teammate Sergei Chudinov clocked combined times of 1:49.48 and 1:48.81 for a close second place in both competitions. Alex Jungl from Germany was third yesterday with an aggregate time of 1:50.20, while Alexander Gassner claimed bronze for Germany today with a two-run total of 1:49.76.
Allen Blackwell was entered to compete in place of Brad Stewart, who led the U.S. men in the Altenberg World Cup race yesterday, but Blackwell became ill on the first day of official training and had to opt out. Greg West (Orange Beach, Ala.) took his place and posted 17th and 22nd place finishes.
“I had a lot of fun this week,” West said. “I was originally not slotted to race here, so I tried to enjoy myself and relax. The field was incredibly deep with the Russian, Swiss, Spanish and part of the Italian World Cup teams opting to use this week to prepare for the European Championships. Considering the level of talent, I am extremely happy with my results.”
Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) finished 22nd and 19th. While he was disappointed with his results, Santagato had split times and training runs this week that were in the mix with some of the best in the world.
“This week was pretty frustrating for me,” Santagato said. “I had a really hard time being consistent and it showed in the races. At times, I showed I was capable of competing with the top guys, and other times my inexperience on this track showed. It’s upsetting that I haven’t been able to get the results that I know I am capable of this season, but my focus has now shifted towards our next race in Altenberg.”
O’Shea led the women’s team with a 10th place finish after clocking a combined time of 1:53.64 yesterday. O’Shea was in 13th after the first run, but moved up three positions with a faster second run. The veteran competitor hoped to move up today, but she slipped and fell at the start and could only muster 17th place.
“I had a decent first day and was hoping to correct a few mistakes in the second race,” O’Shea said. “The weather was better, but I made two mistakes at the top of the track and was slow. I’m just keeping it interesting is what I have been telling people.”
The Russians displayed the depth of their program by sweeping the first women’s race. Elena Nikitina was first with a combined time of 1:52.41 followed by Maria Orlova (1:52.49) and Olga Potylitsina (1:52.52). Nikitina was golden again today with a two-run total of 1:51.58, but her teammates were knocked off the medal stand by Australian Melissa Hoard, who was second with a total time of 1:52.32, and Canadian Robynne Thompson (1:52.34).
Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) has never gelled with the Igls track, but was excited to race after a successful week of training. After double gold performances in Park City, Utah before the break, Gabryszak was hoping to be back on the medal stand to kick-start the New Year.
“It’s a track where the more you try to drive the slower you go, so I focused on relaxing and trying to do as little as possible,” Gabryszak said. “It all came together the last day of training, but then it started to rain.”
Gabryszak crossed the finish line in 1:53.73 for 13th place yesterday, and moved into 12th position today with a combined time of 1:53.05.
“I pushed faster and had two nearly perfect runs today,” Gabryszak said. “I was relaxed and made minimal steers, yet I was still slow. At that point the only thing I could do was throw up my hands- crossing the finish line I knew it was my best and that’s all I can ask of myself.”
The Intercontinental Cup tour now heads to Altenberg for races seven and eight from Jan. 12-13. McDonald said the team hopes to “shake off our results and get back to being as competitive as we were on the first half.”
“You have to drive well to be successful in Altenberg,” McDonald said. “Given that many of our athletes train in Lake Placid, N.Y., where driving is also essential to success, I expect us to be back in the medals.”
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
Men’s skeleton race #1
1. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:49.44 (55.00, 54.44); 2. Sergei Chudinov (RUS) 1:49.48 (54.98, 54.50); 3. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:50.20 (55.29, 54.91);…12. Mike Dellemann (USA) 1:51.34 (56.12, 55.22);….17. Greg West (USA) 1:51.70 (56.06, 55.64);…22. Tom Santagato (USA) (56.44, DNS);
Men’s skeleton race #2
1. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:48.56 (54.36, 54.20); 2. Sergei Chudinov (RUS) 1:48.81 (54.40, 54.41); 3. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:49.76 (55.06, 54.70);…7. Mike Dellemann (USA) 1:50.21 (55.23, 54.98);…19. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:51.63 (56.00, 55.63);…22. Greg West (USA) (56.19, DNS);
Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Elena Nikitina (RUS) 1:52.41 (56.60, 55.81); 2. Maria Orlova (RUS) 1:52.49 (56.52, 55.97); 3. Olga Potylitsina (RUS) 1:52.52 (56.46, 56.06);….10. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:53.64 (57.17, 56.47);…13. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:53.73 (57.00, 56.73);
Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Elena Nikitina (RUS) 1:51.58 (55.89, 55.69); 2. Melissa Hoar (AUS) 1:52.32 (56.28, 56.04); 3. Robynne Thompson (CAN) 1:52.34 (56.43, 55.91);…12. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:53.05 (56.71, 56.34);…17. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:53.75 (57.02, 56.73);
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