Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2010

U.S. Claims Five America’s Cup Medals in Calgary

CALGARY, Canada- The second stop of the 2010-2011 bobsled and skeleton America’s Cup tour was held in Calgary, Canada on the 1988 Olympic track from Nov. 18-20.  The U.S. team collected five medals in a competitive field of international sliders.

Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) collected a gold and bronze medal, respectively, in the women’s bobsled competition, while their teammates Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) denied the Canadians a sweep on their home track after claiming the silver and bronze medals in the men’s two-man bobsled competition.  Butner followed up his performance with a bronze medal in the men’s four-man bobsled race to bring the U.S. medal total to five.

Women’s Bobsled
After winning the 2010 Olympic bronze medal with driver Erin Pac, Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) set a goal to win another Olympic medal in 2014.  This time she’ll be in the driver’s seat, navigating her sled down the icy chute for a chance at gold. 

"Sliding every track in the world in the back of the sled with some of the best pilots in the world has definitely helped my transition into the front of the sled," said Meyers.  "I was fortunate to be behind such great drivers who were always experimenting to find the fastest lines, and I know how the track should feel when it’s driven correctly.  I still have a lot to learn, but I owe a lot to the pilots I’ve pushed for."

Meyers has already marked herself as a pilot to watch over the next four years after winning the women’s bobsled Calgary America’s Cup race with a total time of 1:56.98. 

"This was a collective team USA effort," said Meyers.  "Even though I was driving the sled, it was our entire team that was victorious."

Olympians Mike Kohn and Janis Kipurs helped coach the U.S. pilots down the course, while Rich Christensen volunteered his time to assist with the U.S. team’s efforts to climb the podium. 

"Having these coaches with us was a life saver," said Meyers.  "Shauna Rohbock was doing skype conference calls to help with driving lines as well, and we were all working together for the same goal."

This week was the first time Meyers has driven the Calgary track.  Despite only six training runs, Meyers was able to surpass the Canadians on their home course after posting finish times of 58.11 and 58.87 seconds.

Push athlete Katelyn Kelly (Orchard Park, N.Y.), who began the sport last spring, helped push Meyers to the fastest push time of the competition, 5.90 seconds.

"Katelyn did an awesome job," said Meyers.  "All of the new brakeman have been learning so much and improve each week."

Canadians Jennifer Ciochetti and Michelle Long claimed silver on their home track with a two-run total of 1:57.48.  Ciochetti slid the fastest run of the second heat, 58.80 seconds, but was still half a second short of catching U.S. pilot Meyers. 

Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) added a bronze medal to the U.S. count with brakeman Katie Stoever (Tulsa, Okla.) after sliding runs of 59.08 and 58.91 seconds for a total of 1:57.99. 

Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) teamed with Megan Hill (Woodstock, Ga.) to finish just outside of the medals in fourth with a combined time of 1:58.40 (59.16, 59.24).

Men’s Bobsled
U.S. rookie pilots Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) denied the Canadians a sweep on their home track after claiming the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the men’s two-man bobsled competition.

"It feels great to be on the podium again, and I hope to make it a regular thing throughout the season," said Cunningham.  "It was a new experience only having six runs to learn the track, but I tend to learn under pressure."

Cunningham teamed with Jared Clugston (Red Hill, Pa.) for start times of 5.46 and 5.41 seconds before sliding to the finish in 56.67 and 56.55 seconds, respectively.  The duo slid a combined time of 1:53.33 for a silver medal performance.  

"Once again, I had a great push athlete," said Cunningham.  "Jared is really catching on quickly, and I think he will be one of the guys to beat as we look towards Sochi."

Butner teamed with veteran brakeman Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) for a total time of 1:53.55.  Butner and Beckom combined efforts for consistent push times of 5.42 and 5.41 and runs of 56.79 and 56.76.

"It was great to see two American flags on the podium, especially in another country," said Butner.  "I am really happy with our results, and Jesse did a great job getting me off the block at the start."

Ethan Albrecht-Carrie (Lake Placid, N.Y.) teamed with Colin Campbell (Ventura, Calif.) for sixth place with a total time of 1:54.23 after sliding runs of 57.07 and 57.16 seconds. 

2010 Olympic gold medalist Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) continues to test his skills as a pilot before he rejoins the World Cup squad as a push athlete on Steven Holcomb’s four-man team.  Olsen and brakeman Johnny Quinn (Dallas, Texas) helped complete a North American sweep of the top seven results after finishing seventh with a total time of 1:55.26. 

In the men’s four-man bobsled race, Canadian Spring claimed gold again.  Spring teamed with Timothy Randall, Derek Plug and Graeme Rinholm for the victory with a total time of 1:50.55.  Canadian pilot Cam Macleod and his crew of Glen Downs, Luke Demetre and Andrew Cleary finished second with a combine time of 1:51.37. 

U.S. rookie pilot Butner claimed his second medal in the event after claiming bronze with his push crew of Kameron Hart (Alta Loma, Calif.), Quinn and Mike Snyder (Louisville, Ky.).  The crew slid across the finish in 55.79 and 55.58 seconds for a two-run total of 1:51.37. 

"I can’t thank our coaching staff enough," said Butner.  "Mike, Janis and Rich have so much knowledge on this track, I was just trying to soak it all in."

Butner crashed on his first four-man bobsled training run in Calgary, but he was able to rebound with only three official days of training to finish with a medal.

"I am still having trouble switching back and forth between the two and four-man sleds," said Butner.  "My crew had confidence in me, and we got it together to finish third in the race."

Albrecht-Carrie was in third after sliding a first run time of 55.77 seconds, but had equipment malfunctions and was unable to slide a second heat.  Cunningham has elected to perfect his skills in the two-man event before learning to pilot a four-man sled, thus did not compete in the four-man competition. 

Women’s Skeleton
Jessica Palmer (Roy, Utah) finished sixth to lead the U.S. women’s skeleton team.  Palmer was just two-tenths from the medals after a first run time of 1:00.39, but fell back into sixth after sliding a second run of 1:01.15.  Palmer, who returned this season after a hiatus from the sport to rehabilitate nagging injuries, finished with a total time of 2:01.54.  Palmer’s result qualified her to compete in Junior World Championships this season on her home track in Park City, Utah.

Rookie sliders Lauri Bausch (Fredonia, Wisc.) and Corinne DiPietro (Middletown, Mass.) competed in Calgary for the first time in their careers.  Bausch navigated the course in 2:04.07 to finish seventh, while DiPietro finished close behind her teammate in eighth with a combine time of 2:04.67. 

"The team worked really well together and supported each other everyday," said Rebecca Sorensen, who finished second in national team trials but elected to coach the America’s Cup team this season. "I was happy with the effort they put towards getting involved and learning as much as they could in the little time we had."

The Canadian women’s skeleton program showed its strength after Lanette Prediger and Jaclyn Laberge claimed gold and bronze, respectively, for the host nation.  Prediger slid a combined time of 1:59.08 to finish 0.69 seconds ahead of the field, while Laberge slid a bronze medal performance with a two-run total of 2:00.51. Katharine Eustace won a silver medal for New Zealand with a total time of 1:59.77.

Men’s Skeleton
Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) was the top U.S. finisher in the men’s skeleton competition after crossing the finish with a total time of 2:01.28 for 11th place.  In only his first competitive year, Santagato navigated the course with finish times of 1:00.57 and 1:00.71 in his first week sliding the Calgary course.

Yuzuru Hanyuda from Japan defeated competitors from the host nation to win gold with a two-run total of 1:55.96.  Canadian Greg Maidment was 0.72 seconds behind with a total time of 1:56.68 to claim silver, while Canadian teammate Dave Greszczyszyn finished third after posting a combined time of 1:57.30.

Nick Vienneau
(Salt Lake City, Utah) finished 12th after sliding a total time of 2:01.43, with Allen Blackwell (Jackson, Miss.) a close 0.32 seconds behind in 13th.  Austin Carter (Sandy, Utah), only 16-years-old, finished 15th.

As a result of their finishes, Blackwell and Carter have both qualified for the Junior World Championships in Park City this February. 

The Calgary America’s Cup was the first international sliding trip for many of the U.S. skeleton team athletes.  In addition to the stress of learning a new track, the U.S. team struggled with start mishaps, skidding and visor fogging throughout the week.

"If we can get over the injuries and equipment issues next month, I am expecting great things for the U.S. squad on the second half of the season," said Sorensen."

The America’s Cup circuit will resume in Lake Placid, N.Y. from Jan. 13-16, 2011.

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250.  Follow the team on the USBSF Twitter page at http://twitter.com/USBSF, or on the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Facebook group page.  Watch athlete interviews and check out the action on the abirdbobsled YouTube channel.

Results:
Women’s Bobsled:
1. Elana Meyers and Katelyn Kelly (USA) 1:56.98 (58.11, 58.87); 2. Jennifer Ciochetti and Michelle Long (CAN) 1:57.48 (58.68, 58.80); 3. Jamie Greubel and Katie Stoever (USA) 1:57.99 (59.08, 58.91); 4. Jazmine Fenlator and Megan Hill (USA) 1:58.40 (59.16, 59.24);

Men’s 2-man Bobsled:
1. Chris Spring and Timothy Randall (CAN) 1:52.77 (56.53, 56.24); 2. Nick Cunningham and Jared Clugston (USA) 1:53.33 (56.67, 56.66); 3. Cory Butner and Jesse Beckom (USA) 1:53.55 (56.79, 56.76);…6. Ethan Albrecht-Carrie and Colin Campbell (USA) 1:54.23 (57.07, 57.16);…7. Justin Olsen and Johnny Quinn (USA) 1:55.26 (57.62, 57.64);

Men’s 4-man Bobsled:
1. Spring, Randall, Plug and Rinholm (CAN) 1:50.55 (55.23, 55.32); 2. Macleod, Downs, Demetre and Cleary (CAN) 1:51.27 (55.54, 55.73); 3. Butner Hart, Quinn and Snyder (USA) 1:51.37 (55.79, 55.58);…Albrecht-Carrie, Southam, Campbell and Clugston (USA) (55.77, DNS);

Women’s Skeleton:
1. Lanette Prediger CAN) 1:59.08 (59.39, 59.69); 2. Katharine Eustace (NZL) 1:59.77 (59.81, 59.96); 3. Jaclyn Laberge (CAN) 2:00.51 (1:00.19, 1:00.32);…6. Jessica Palmer (USA) 2:01.54 (1:00.39, 1:01.15); 7. Lauri Bausch (USA) 2:04.07 (1:01.99, 1:02.08); 8. Corinne DiPietro (USA) 2:04.67 (1:02.15, 1:02.52);

Men’s Skeleton:
1. Yuzuru Hanyuda (JPN) 1:55.96 (57.85, 58.11); 2. Greg Maidment (CAN) 1:56.68 (58.47, 58.21); 3. Dave Greszczyszyn (CAN) 1:57.30 (58.91, 58.39);…11. Tom Santagato (USA) 2:01.28 (1:00.57, 1:00.71); 12. Nick Venneau (USA) 2:01.43 (1:00.03, 1:01.40); 13. Allen Blackwell (USA) 2:01.75 (1:00.84, 1:00.91);…15. Austin Carter (USA) 2:04.96 (1:02.72, 1:02.24);

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 Group, Under Armour, Vilter Manufacturing, Kampgrounds of America, KBC Helmets, EDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. In addition, the USBSF supports the following charitable causes: American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Seattle Children’s Hospital. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at
http://bobsled.teamusa.org.

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