USA Bobsled and Skeleton athletes claim 87 medals in 2017-2018 Olympic season

March 16, 2018, 5:06 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, (518) 354-2250, amanda.bird@usabs.com
Kristen Gowdy, USABS Media and Marketing Assistant, (719) 722-0522, kristen.gowdy@usabs.com

USA Bobsled and Skeleton athletes claim 87 medals in 2017-2018 Olympic season

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (March 16, 2018)- The 2017-2018 USA Bobsled and Skeleton (USABS) season was highlighted by an Olympic silver medal, three overall tour titles and three World Cup gold medals as USABS athletes raced to 87 medals across six bobsled and skeleton tours.


Women’s bobsled once again led the way for Team USA on the World Cup circuit, earning nine medals and the Olympic silver to drive the U.S.’ podium efforts. At least one U.S. team was on the podium in each of the eight World Cup races, led by Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.), who teamed with a combination of Lauren Gibbs (Los Angeles, Calif.), Kehri Jones (Killeen, Texas) and Lolo Jones (Des Moines, Iowa) for seven World Cup medals. Meyers Taylor finished the season ranked second overall in the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) standings and raced to her third consecutive Olympic medal, a silver, in PyeongChang, South Korea with Olympic rookie Gibbs in the back of her sled.


Meyers Taylor and Gibbs set both the start and track records in PyeongChang during their Olympic campaign, powering their BMW sled to a 5.21-second start on the first day of competition while recording a 50.46-second run on the second day to solidify their silver medal. Meyers Taylor, who also took silver in the Sochi Olympics in 2014, said that this time, rather than the feeling of disappointment of losing the gold that she felt in 2014, she felt the excitement of winning silver.


In Sochi … I was driving my sled trying not to lose the gold medal,” Meyers Taylor said after her race in Korea. “I disappointed myself. This Olympics all I wanted to do was put together four consistent runs that I would be proud of, go out swinging. We came up short, but I feel like we gave everything we had to the very last hundredth, and we won the silver medal.”


Meanwhile, teammates Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pa.) and Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) also had a strong Olympic showing, finishing fifth in a tightly contested race. Greubel Poser piloted her BMW sled to three World Cup medals this season, including gold with Gibbs in the Park City, Utah race, and wrapped up the year ranked fourth overall. Brittany Reinbolt (Searcy, Ark.), the third-ranked Team USA pilot, finished a season-best fifth in Park City with World Cup rookie Maureen Ajoku (San Jose, Calif.) and finished her season ranked 14th overall.


After the devastating loss of legendary bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb in May, the men’s bobsled team turned to pilots Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.), Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) for leadership in the Olympic season. Driving the Under Armour-wrapped BMW sled, the 23-year-old Bascue delivered by winning the first World Cup medal of his career in the season-opening race, a bronze with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.) in Lake Placid, followed by his first World Cup gold the next day with Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas). Bascue then went on to win silver in the second four-man race in Park City with Valdes, McGuffie and Nate Weber (Pueblo West, Colo.). Bascue finished the season with a team-best ninth place in his Olympic four-man debut with Evan Weinstock (Las Vegas, Nev.), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and McGuffie.


Olsen and Cunningham also earned a World Cup medal apiece this season. Olsen took bronze with Weinstock in the second Lake Placid race, while Cunningham nabbed silver in the opening two-man race in Lake Placid. Cunningham, piloting the KOA-wrapped BMW sled, finished the season as the top-ranked U.S. men’s pilot in the two-man event at 11th, while Olsen and Bascue were 15th and 16th, respectively. In a balanced effort, Bascue led Team USA in eighth in the four-man overall rankings, while Olsen was 18th and Cunningham 20th. Olsen also turned in the U.S.’ best two-man results at the Olympics despite having an emergency appendectomy just days before the competition. He and Weinstock finished in 14th while Cunningham and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (Powhatan, Va.) were next for Team USA in 21st. Cunningham finished 19th in four-man in PyeongChang with Abdul-Saboor, Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) and Chris Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga.), while Olsen took 21st with Weber, Valdes and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah).


Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) consistently recorded the top results for Team USA in women’s and men’s World Cup skeleton. Both recorded season-best finishes of seventh place — Uhlaender’s in Park City and Antoine’s in Winterberg, Germany.


In PyeongChang, Uhlaender took 13th place and Olympic rookie Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) finished 17th for the U.S. in women’s skeleton, while Antoine recorded an 11th-place result and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) completed his comeback and took 16th.


For Daly, PyeongChang was about redemption. After sitting in medal contention in Sochi, the three-time Olympian popped a groove in his final run and ended up in 15th. Daly took two years off from the sport before returning in 2016 for a shot at a different Olympic ending.


I got to walk off the track after four runs, hold my head high and wave to my family, and that’s a moment I thought I’d never get back,” Daly said. “That’s what matters to me. It’s not a medal, but to me, that was the moment I was looking for. That’s my medal.”


Antoine finished the season ranked eighth in the IBSF overall standings, while Daly came in at 15th. Greg West (Springfield, Mo.) was 27th to round out Team USA’s World Cup team. For the women’s World Cup squad, Uhlaender was 10th, Wesenberg 17th and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) 27th.


On the Intercontinental Cup (ICC), Uhlaender and Daly each collected two medals while racing in St. Moritz, Switzerland to earn more points toward Olympic qualification. Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) was Team USA’s highest-ranked athlete in the ICC standings, finishing the season ranked fifth on the tour. Henry consistently pushed some of the fastest start times on the tour and was especially strong on the second half of the tour, highlighting her season with a fifth-place finish in the second St. Moritz race. Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Gracie Clapp-Taylor (Saint Johns, Fla.) took the seventh and eighth overall tour rankings, respectively.


On the men’s side, Nathan Crumpton (Park City, Utah) led Team USA on the ICC tour, finishing 14th despite missing points in two ICC races when he competed on the World Cup circuit in Altenberg, Germany. Mike Rogals (Orwell, Vt.) was right behind Crumpton in 15th on the tour, while Kyle Brown (Concord, N.H.) was 17th.


In a competitive European Cup (EC) season, Stephen Garbett (Parker, Colo.) ranked sixth to lead Team USA on the men’s side while Kellie Delka (Collinsville, Texas) was the top American female athlete, coming in at 10th overall despite missing the final two races of the season. Delka and Garbett each posted three top-10 finishes this season. Teammates Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) and Samantha Culiver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also recorded top-10 EC results for Team USA.


In an effort to accumulate more Olympic qualification points, Olsen, Weinstock, Langton and Fogt competed in one four-man EC race in Igls, Austria, claiming the silver medal and aiding Team USA’s campaign to qualify a third four-man sled for PyeongChang.


Team USA athletes combined for three North American Cup (NAC) tour titles in men’s and women’s skeleton and two-man bobsled. Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.), 23-years-old, took home the men’s skeleton tour title, finishing the season ranked first after winning six medals in eight races, including gold in the first of two Lake Placid competitions. Tourmate Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) found his stride this season as well and earned six consecutive medals to close out the season, concluding it ranked second overall on the tour.


Meanwhile, for the women, Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.) earned the first overall tour championship of her career. Curtis won five medals and never finished below seventh place to take home the title. Former bobsledder Kristen Hurley (Columbia, Conn.), who switched to skeleton last season, ranked third overall and won her first two career skeleton medals this season, while Veronica Day (Vienna, Va.) finished fifth overall despite only competing on the first half of the NAC tour before switching to EC for the second half of the season. Culiver also earned two NAC medals for women’s skeleton before joining Day on EC.


To round out Team USA’s NAC titles, Geoff Gadbois (Milton, Vt.) earned four gold medals en route to the two-man NAC championship. Gadbois raced with a combination of Nic Taylor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Me.), Brent Fogt (Alpine, Utah) and Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) to earn the crown. He also earned two medals in four-man and ranked seventh on the tour.


At just 21-years-old, pilot Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) had a breakout four-man season on the NAC, medaling in all six races he entered and finishing the season ranked second overall. Most notably though, Church, with Lou Moreira (Somerville, Mass.), Brent Fogt and Michener, won the final four-man NAC race of the season in Lake Placid to solidify Team USA’s third four-man spot for the Olympic Games.


Nicole Vogt (Dallas, Texas) piloted her way to a second overall NAC ranking in women’s bobsled. Vogt won medals with push athletes Ajoku, Nicole Brundgardt (Norfolk, Neb.) and Kyle Plante (Colonie, N.Y.). Kristi Koplin (Park City, Utah) took home three NAC medals this season as well and finished the season ranked sixth overall.


In Para World Cup action, Jason Sturm (Herndon, Va.) led Team USA with two medals, a gold and a bronze, while rookie Christ Rasmussen (Battle Creek, Mich.) nabbed a bronze in Oberhof, Germany, to round out the American medals. Barry Schroeder (Sebring, Ohio) turned in a team-leading seventh place performance in a hard-fought Para World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, last weekend.


USA Skeleton athletes concluded their season with National Championships in Lake Placid, which saw West secure his first national title for the men and Uhlaender take home her fifth for the women.


Team USA will continue its bobsled and skeleton recruiting efforts this summer with its annual series of combines, the dates of which will be announced this spring. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at amanda.bird@usabs.com, 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. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Thorne, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl Technique, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Stress Engineering, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at www.usabs.com.

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