Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director
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Reinbolt and Gibbs rally for U.S. by finishing fifth in women’s bobsled World Championships
Photo credit: International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation
WHISTLER, British Columbia (March 3, 2019)– Brittany Reinbolt(Searcy, Ark.) and Lauren Gibbs(Los Angeles, Calif.) stepped up today to lead the U.S. squad with a fifth place finish in the women’s bobsled World Championships in Whistler. Elana Meyers Taylor(Douglasville, Ga.) and Lake Kwaza(Sycamore, Ill.) were in second place overnight, but the pair had a heartbreaking end to their medal campaign when they crashed in the third heat. Nicole Vogt(Dallas, Texas) and Nicole Brungardt(Norfolk, Neb.) moved up three spots from yesterday after posting the third fastest time of the final heat to finish ninth in their first World Championship appearance.
“At the end of the day, a top five result is good day,” Reinbolt said. “This is my favorite track in the world, and even though I’m kind of new to this level of competition, I wanted to do well here. I’ll take it.”
Reinbolt has only raced in one World Championships before. She finished 12th in the 2017 World Championships in Koenigssee, Germany, making today’s finish a seven place improvement.
In yesterday’s opening heat, Meyers Taylor set a new track record of 52.48 seconds, 0.18 seconds faster than the former record of 52.66 set by Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz three years ago. Reigning Olympic champions Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek were first off the start today, and the Germans obliterated Meyers Taylor’s record by nearly half a second with a run of 52.01 seconds.
Meyers Taylor and Kwaza were 0.13 seconds behind Jamanka and Drazek after day one of racing, and the Americans were eager to reclaim the lead. Meyers Taylor and Kwaza powered the BMW sled off the block in 5.15 seconds, but their World Championship medal campaign came to an abrupt end when they were upended by the notorious 50/50 curve. Corner 13 was nicknamed 50/50 by the late Steven Holcomb after the first day of four-man training in January 2009, when only half the sleds made it through the corner on all four runners. Five teams crashed out of the competition, including Meyers Taylor and Kwaza.
Jamanka and Drazek were close to becoming the sixth team to crash out of the 50/50 corner in the final heat. The Germans managed to hang on, posting the sixth best time of the run, but finishing 1.06 seconds ahead of the field to take the title with a combined time of 3:30.08. Stephanie Schneider and Ann-Christin Strack claimed silver for Germany with a four-run total of 3:31.14. Christine De Bruin and Kristen Bunjnowksi secured the bronze medal for the host nation with an aggregate time of 3:31.25.
Reinbolt and Gibbs stepped up, powering the Kampgrounds of America sled off the block in 5.24 seconds in today’s first heat. Reinbolt fought to keep the sled straight at the top of the track, but she pulled it back midway down to put the team in contention for the medals with a run of 52.61 seconds. Only seven hundredths of a second separated the Americans from the bronze medal going into the fourth and final heat.
Reinbolt and Gibbs were consistent off the block with a start time of 5.25 seconds, but the Americans could only muster the seventh best time of 52.98 seconds in the final heat. Reinbolt and Gibbs clocked a total time of 3:31.65 to finish fifth.
“I was hoping for some magic to happen, because anything can happen here,” Reinbolt said. “A fifth place is still something to be proud of.”
Vogt and Brungardt were 12th overnight and 12th after the third heat with a downtime of 53.53 seconds after a start time of 5.31. The Americans pushed off the block in 5.34 seconds in the fourth and final heat, and Vogt threaded together a flawless run of 52.73 seconds, eight hundredths of a second faster than their previous slide and third best time of the field. Vogt and Brungardt moved up three spots into ninth with a four-run combined time of 3:32.87. This was the first World Championship appearance for both Vogt and Brungardt.
Racing continues in Whistler today with the team event at 4 p.m. The Americans will field two teams for the competition. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek (GER) 3:30.08 (52.58, 52.64, 52.01, 52.85);
2. Stephanie Schneider and Ann-Christin Strack (GER) 3:31.14 (52.84, 52.85, 52.78, 52.67);
3. Christine De Bruin and Kristen Bunjnowksi (CAN) 3:31.25 (52.91, 53.12, 52.57, 52.65);
5. Brittany Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs (USA) 3:31.65 (53.04, 53.02, 52.61, 52.98);
9. Nicole Vogt and Nicole Brungardt (USA) 3:32.87 (53.23, 53.38, 53.53, 52.73);
DNF Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza (USA) (52.48, 52.87, 56.13, DNS);
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, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.