Skeleton Preview
The U.S. skeleton team concluded the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 with two medals from Noelle Pikus-Pace (silver) and Matt Antoine (bronze). Antoine will return for his second Olympics, leading a competitive field of American athletes.

Matt Antoine won an 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. Also on the men’s side, 2014 Olympian John Daly makes a dramatic return to the sport after he officially retired following Sochi 2014. Daly sat in medal contention entering the final heat of the 2014 Games before popping a groove and falling into the middle of the pack. After taking two years off, he announced his return in November 2016, made the 2017-18 national team, and, after a successful world cup season, has earned a spot on the Olympic roster.

Noelle Pikus-Pace retired from the sport following her medal-winning performance in 2014, but her Sochi 2014 teammate, Katie Uhlaender, returns for a chance to make her fourth Olympic appearance after finishing a career-best fourth at the 2014 Games.  Meanwhile, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American woman to claim the overall European Cup title in 2014-15 and has since been racing on the world cup circuit. This season, Wesenberg has four top-20 finishes, including one top-10 finish, on the world cup circuit and is ranked No. 18 in the world.

Storylines

  • John Daly’s nomination to the U.S. Olympic Team marks a huge success for one of the greatest comeback stories in sport’s recent history. After popping a groove at the 2014 Games to put him out of medal contention, Daly thought he was done with skeleton. He decided to mount a comeback in time for the 2016-17 season and returned to competition at the North American Cup circuit in January 2017. He looks to cap his comeback with a strong performance at the Games.

  • Matt Antoine won Olympic bronze medal in men’s skeleton in 2014, marking the first Olympic skeleton medal for Team USA in 12 years. 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.

Athletes To Watch

Matt Antoine
Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin) has already made a statement during the 2016-17 World Cup season, medaling twice in the first two races. The 2014 Olympic bronze medalist is back to form after returning to his original strength program, and returns to the Olympic stage hungry for another medal. He has been sliding since 2003 and competing on the world cup circuit since 2008.

John Daly 
Daly (Smithtown, New York) made a dramatic comeback to sliding at the beginning of the 2016-17 season, returning after a two-year hiatus following the Sochi Games. Daly was sitting in bronze-medal position entering the fourth and final heat at the Olympics before popping a groove and falling back considerably. However, he comes back to the sport hungry for redemption and a shot at the 2018 Olympic podium.

Katie Uhlaender
A three-time Olympian, Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colorado) finished just shy of the podium at the Sochi Olympics, placing fourth. She now returns to her fourth Olympic team after battling back from numerous injuries. She medaled in every Intercontinental Cup race in 2015-16, and has won both a world championship and two world cup overall titles in her accomplished skeleton career.

Kendall Wesenberg
Wesenberg (Modesto, California) has proven herself to be one of Team USA’s top sliders this year and now looks towards her Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018. Wesenberg has multiple top-10 finishes over the last three world cup seasons, including a silver medal finish in last season’s world cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 

Qualification

Nations qualified for PyeongChang based on IBSF Overall Ranking points during the 2017-18 season. The U.S. qualified two sleds in each gender based on points earned during the qualification period that ended Jan. 14, 2018. A total of 30 athletes will compete on the men’s side, while 20 athletes will take part in the women’s competition.

Click 
here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for skeleton.

Selection

USA Bobsled & Skeleton held a trials race series in the fall of 2017 to determine which athletes would compete on the 2017-18 World Cup Tour. Exceptions could be granted to athletes who earn a bye onto the world cup team by virtue of their top-three finish at the 2017 FIBT World Championships. Athletes then earned international points on the 2017-18 World Cup Tour and these points counted toward selection to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.

Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only and should not be relied upon by athletes attempting to make the U.S. Olympic Team. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body. Athletes and other individuals interested in the selection process should contact the appropriate NGB to obtain the full selection procedures, or to seek clarification of the process.

Key Dates

October 2017

2017-2018 U.S. World Cup Team Selection Series

November 2017-January 2018

2017-2018 U.S. World Cup Tour

Jan. 14, 2018

Cut-off for IBSF Overall Ranking points

 Jan. 16, 2018 2018 U.S. Olympic Team announcement