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Del Duca and Abdul Saboor 15th at halfway point of two-man bobsled Olympic competition, Church and Volker 28th
YANQING, China (February 14, 2022) – Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine) and Hakeem Abdul Saboor (Powhatan, Va.) are the top U.S. team in 15th place after the first two heats of the two-man bobsled Olympic competition. Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) and Charlie Volker (Fair Haven, N.J.) are in 28th place at the halfway point.
Del Duca said they were inspired by the women’s 1-2 finish today in women’s monobob. Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor won the first-ever gold and silver medals in monobob Olympic history.
“Those two are so inspiring for what they do on the ice and outside the ice, just the way they carry themselves, the way they treat people, just the standard they set for bobsledders and people,” Del Duca said. “It’s amazing to even be around them and I’m trying to learn from them, both how they compete and how they contribute to the team. So yeah, we were jacked up watching them today. It was awesome.”
Three of the four men’s athletes competing for Team USA made their Olympic debut tonight. Del Duca, Church, and Volker are first timers, while this is Abdul Saboor’s second Olympic appearance.
Del Duca had an impressive debut with Abdul Saboor. The duo combined forces to power the sled off the block in 5.04 and 5.06 seconds, eighth and ninth best of the field. Del Duca navigated the team to the finish in 59.87 seconds for the 13th best time of the opening heat. The Americans dropped two spots into 15th place with the 15th ranked time of 1:00.22 in the second heat.
“I think I have some work to do at the start,” Del Duca said. “I’m somewhat pleased with how we did as a whole. I just look at what I can do to improve. I think Hakeem did awesome. I had a little (issue) at the start that cost us some time but I’ll check the video, make some little tweaks to the technique and see if we can drop our start rank a bit tomorrow.”
“He’s being a little too hard on himself,” Abdul Saboor said about Del Duca.. “He did great. We came out here. We gave it all that we got. We have high standards so we’re always reaching for the sky and think we can do better, but I think we’re sitting in a decent spot and we’re just out here to have fun. We’re going to pick up some spots tomorrow.”
Abdul Saboor said their teammates that are not racing two-man are going to sand their runners so they can get some rest before tomorrow’s final runs.
“We’ll be ready and fired up for tomorrow,” Abdul Saboor said.
Team Germany is in first, second and fourth position after day one. Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis are the overnight leaders with a two-run total of 1:58.38. Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer are 0.15 seconds behind in second place with a combined time of 1:58.53.
Only Rostislav Gaitiukevoch and Aleksei Laptev from the Russian Olympic Committee stand between the Germans and a sweep of the medals. The Russians are in third position with a total time of 1:59.32.
Church and Volker are in 28th position with a cumulative time of 2:01.78. The duo posted start times of 5.10 and 5.12 seconds for runs of 1:00.38 and 1:01.40, respectively.
“Pissed. I can’t really say much else,” Church said. “First run I was really happy with. I think I started to put some things together. Honestly I still think I did on that second run as well but that mistake was unbelievable, it killed me. I was really hoping to be able to pick off a couple people. (Charlie) pushed as hard as he could and gave me that extra hundredth I needed. Now I’ve just gotta put a really great run together tomorrow. It’s gonna be a battle to get in the top 20 of course, but whatever I do tomorrow, I will carry it with me into next week.”
“We didn’t push as well as we wanted to but again, you’re not going to get anywhere being soft on yourself so we’re gonna be hard on ourselves and obviously come back with a chip on our shoulder tomorrow and move up for sure,” Volker said.
The two-man bobsled competition continues tomorrow with the third and fourth heats at 8:15 p.m. local time. The 2022 Winter Olympic Games can be viewed Live on NBC and streamed on Peacock Premium. The games can be viewed with a cable subscription on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app will live stream a Winter Olympics record 2,100+ hours of live event competition during the Beijing Olympics. For more information on how to view, please go to NBCOlympics.com.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results (heats 1 & 2)
1. Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis (GER) 1:58.38 (59.02, 59.36);
2. Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer (GER) 1:58.53 (59.26, 59.27);
3. Rostislav Gaitiukevich and Aleksei Laptev (ROC) 1:59.32 (59.41, 59.91);
15. Frank Del Duca and Hakeem Abdul Saboor (USA) 2:00.09 (59.87, 1:00.22);
28. Hunter Church and Charlie Volker (USA) 2:01.78 (1:00.38, 1:01.40)
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 USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.