Antoine, Daly, Uhlaender Return To U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team, Joined By Newcomer Wesenberg

By Karen Price | Jan. 15, 2018, 1:15 p.m. (ET)

 

If Kendall Wesenberg has any questions about going to the Olympics, she can ask her fellow newly named and very experienced Olympic teammates.

USA Bobsled & Skeleton announced the team of four skeleton athletes who will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Friday morning and, in addition to newcomer Wesenberg, it includes Matt Antoine, John Daly and Katie Uhlaender. Between the three of them, they have six previous trips to the Olympics under their belts.

“This is an experienced and talented group of athletes selected to the skeleton team and each is capable of bringing home a medal,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele. “These four athletes have overcome many challenges over the last quad and have risen above them time after time. They have grit and are determined to lay it on the line and give it all they've got in Korea, so we expect big things.”

Antoine, 32, of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, won Olympic bronze medal in men’s skeleton in 2014, marking the first Olympic skeleton medal for Team USA in 12 years, and has earned 11 career world cup medals. Pending appeal, his medal could be promoted to silver after the gold medalist was disqualified in November for doping.

After Sochi, Antoine nearly walked away from the sport during a battle with situational depression, about which he’s blogged candidly. Instead, he continued on and finished seventh at the world championships last February and has enjoyed four top-10 finishes so far this season in world cup races. He is ranked eighth in the world.

Daly, also 32, returns to the Olympics after a heartbreaking performance in Sochi, when his sled popped out of the groove at the start of the fourth and final race. Sitting in fourth place entering that run and jockeying for a medal, Daly finished 15th.

The Long Island, New York, native retired from the sport after that but came in late 2016 and has qualified for this third Games. Daly won the men’s national team trials this past fall and has four top-20 world cup finishes, plus two Intercontinental Cup medals this season, leaving him ranked No. 16.

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Uhlaender, ranked 13th in the world, will be competing at her fourth Olympics. Four years ago, she became the first U.S. skeleton athlete to compete at three Olympics, and she now extends that streak. After finishing fourth in Sochi, Uhlaender could also see her placement retroactively promoted as the original bronze medalist was also disqualified as part of the Russian doping scandal.

The 33-year-old from Vail, Colorado, is one of the toughest athletes on Team USA – having gone through 12 surgeries in 11 years and now getting accustomed to sliding without her best friend, legendary bobsledder Steven Holcomb who passed in May of 2016, by her side – and with four top-10 world cup finishes this season and the No. 10 ranking, she now hopes to be able to stand on the podium and receive her second medal next month in PyeongChang. Though she has not won a world cup medal since prior to Sochi, Uhlaender has had a very decorated career that includes gold, silver and bronze world championship medals, plus two overall world cup titles.

Wesenberg, 27, from Castro Valley, California, is the sole Olympic newcomer of the group. She was the first American woman to win the European Cup title in 2014-15. Then, in January 2017, she won her first world cup podium spot with a silver medal in St. Moritz, Switzerland. This season, Wesenberg has four top-20s and one top-10 finish on the world cup circuit and is ranked No. 18 in the world.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.