2018 U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team Announced
KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 15)- USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS) today announced that Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.), Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.), Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.) and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) have been selected to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“This is an experienced and talented group of athletes selected to the skeleton team and each is capable of bringing home a medal,” said USABS 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.”
Fifty skeleton athletes— 30 men and 20 women— are expected to compete for the Olympic title. The U.S. is one of six nations to earn two spots in the men’s division and one of four nations to qualify two sleds in the women’s discipline.
The top ranked American in international standings earned the first race entry per USABS criteria. The second race entry was nominated according to discretionary selection criteria.
Three of the four athletes named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team are Olympians. Uhlaender is a three-time Olympian; she finished sixth at the 2006 Torino Games, 11th at the 2010 Vancouver Games and fourth at the 2014 Sochi Games. Antoine made his first Olympic appearance in Sochi, where he earned the bronze medal. This is Daly’s third Olympic Team. He finished 17th at the Vancouver Games, and he walked away from the sport after a heartbreaking finish at the 2014 Sochi Games, when he fell from fourth to 15th after his sled popped a groove at the start in the final heat. Daly returned to the sport last season to make a run for his third Olympic berth. This is Wesenberg’s first Olympic Team selection. She became the first American woman to win a European Cup title in 2015; just four years after taking her first run in the sport.
In November the International Olympic Committee disqualified four Russian skeleton athletes from the 2014 Sochi Games for doping violations and banned them from future games. If the disqualifications stand following appeals and medals are reallocated, Antoine would move into silver medal position and bump Uhlaender into third, awarding her with her first Olympic medal of her 15-year sliding career.
Skeleton was added to the Olympic program for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Americans Tristan Gale and Lea Ann Parsley claimed gold and silver, respectively in the women’s race, while Jimmy Shea Jr. was victorious in the men’s race. The U.S. didn’t win medals at the 2006 Torino Games or the 2010 Vancouver Games, though Noelle Pikus-Pace was just 0.10 seconds shy of bronze in fourth place in Vancouver. The team rallied in 2014 when Antoine claimed bronze in the men’s event and Pikus-Pace raced to a silver medal in the women’s.
The Olympic bobsled and skeleton events are held in a four-heat format over two days of racing with two heats on each day. Men’s skeleton will kick things off Feb. 15-16, followed by women’s skeleton on Feb. 16-17.
All U.S. Olympic team selections are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250.
About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at www.usabs.com.