Para World Cup heads to Lillehammer

Jan. 11, 2019, 9:55 p.m. (ET)

By Mark Fairchild

 

With the Para Sport World Cup season in full swing, the U.S. Para team has seen early success in a young team. Team veteran Barry Schroeder brought home the United States’ first medal on the second day of the season opener in Park City, where he captured bronze and a career high finish at the track. 

The following week in Calgary would prove greater success for the American team, and be the farewell race for team leader Schroeder, who began his sliding career on the very track. Although Schroeder placed outside of medal contention on both days of racing, teammates Christ Rasmussen and Steven Jacobo led the way. On day one of competition, Rasmussen finished on the podium winning bronze, and scoring the only American medal of the day. Yet, the second day of competition would prove more exciting as Steven Jacobo would challenge and tie his teammate Rasmussen for bronze, both posting a combined time of 1:55.84, +0.21 seconds off the pace of leader Fronsdal Guro Konstanse of Norway. 

As the team heads into Lillehammer, Norway for competition on the 12th and 13th, of January, the current World Cup rankings sees Steven Jacobo in 7th, Christ Rasmussen in 11th, and Castillo Guillermo rounding out the top 15.

Recently appointed team captain, Darrin Raupp, sees great promise in this young team, especially following the departures of U.S. Para Bobsleigh greats Jason Sturm and Barry Schroeder. 

“They were great sliders,” says Raupp, “and the greatest team mentors you could have for the athletes coming up.” 

Steven Jacobo who currently leads the U.S. in World Cup rankings, Raupp believes, is the future of the team after demonstrating great promise early on this season. Yet the recruitment process and criteria Raupp wants to stabilize in the coming years, looks to bring greater depth to the already competitive U.S. team. 

Despite being unable to conduct proper team selection races in the fall, the point leaders of the previous season acted as the primary criteria for seeding athletes into sleds. As it stands going forward, Christ Rasmussen has taken over Sled 1 from Barry Schroeder, while Steven Jacobo races in Sled 2; the third and fourth sleds having yet to be decided.

As the disciplines of Para Bobsled and Skeleton look towards the future, the sports governing body suffered a recent blow after being denied a spot in the 2022 Paralympic Games. Raupp, however, remains hopeful that the IBSF will work to create a stronger bid for 2026, with a nomination package that will include each discipline, and not exclusively Para Bobsleigh Seated. 

“I think a multi-sport package would be a much better package to offer, not only for ticket sales of the event, but for the different disciplines and abilities of the athletes.”

Although a decision on the bid will not likely be determined in the coming weeks, the main focus for Raupp and Team USA has, and will remain on the current season. 

For those looking for more information about the Para Bobsleigh and Skeleton programs, extensive information can currently be found on the U.S. Adaptive Bobsleigh & Skeleton website or by contacting Dave Nicholls, founder of the USABSA, and Para Bobsled team captain, Darrin Raupp. 

https://usabsatemp.mikesmotorclub.com