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U.S. sleds in 13th and 14th going into tomorrow’s four-man bobsled Olympic finale
Hunter Church, Josh Williamson, Kris Horn and Charlie Volker at the start during the first heat.
Photo credit: Getty Images
YANQING, China (February 19, 2022) – Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.), Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.), Kris Horn (Pembroke, Mass.) and Charlie Volker (Fair Haven, N.J.) made their Olympic debuts tonight in the four-man bobsled Olympic competition at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre. The young American team is in 13th place going into tomorrow’s final heats. Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine) had a strong showing in his first Olympics with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), debutante Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Hakeem Abdul Saboor (Powhatan, Va.). The team is one spot behind Church, tied for 14th place.
Church, Williamson, Horn and Volker clocked the seventh fastest start time of 4.95 seconds in the opening heat for the 11th ranked downtime of 58.91 seconds. The crew was just 0.04 seconds outside of the top 10. They came back in the second heat with a start time of 4.93 and a run of 59.70 seconds, and dropped back two spots into 13th with a combined time of 1:58.61.
“Could be a lot better,” Church said. “I’m really disappointed with that mistake I made on run two. I think what’s even more disappointing is some sleds can make the same mistake and somehow still go fast. But, we’ve got a big opportunity tomorrow to climb back, get into the top ten. Hopefully we continue climbing even further.”
Church said he’s not going to allow his disappointment to get in the way of performing tomorrow, and his crew is confident in their driver.
“There’s no doubt in my mind he can execute and do what he needs to do to get us where we are going,” Horn said.
Del Duca and Reed made their debut this morning with 2018 Olympians Valdes and Abdul Saboor. The crew was one-hundredth of a second off their teammates’ start time with a 4.96-second push off the block. Del Duca navigated the team to the finish in 59.26 seconds for 14th position.
“These guys do a great job on and off the ice,” Del Duca said about his crew. “I have a ton of respect for them. I’ve been in many different races with them over the years as a push athlete and now as a driver. It’s pretty cool to come together on the biggest stage and just put together the best results we can. I know we’re digging deep to do the best we can, and it’s a great feeling to be with them.”
The Americans posted a second run start time of 5.01 for the 15th ranked downtime of 59.56 seconds. They finished day one tied for 14th place with the French team driven by Romain Heinrich with a total time of 1:58.82. a
“Frank, for his first Olympics, he’s handled it great,” Valdes said. “He’s business as usual, he’s not overthinking anything. He’s not doing anything different, it’s all the same.”
“I have the same game plan every time I get on the start line,” Del Duca said. “ I give everything I have, because I don’t know how to do it any other way. When I have these guys, these teammates, I know they believe in me and we believe in each other, and it’s just nothing left to do but to show up and do it.”
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich, Thorsten Margis, Candy Bauer and Alexander Schueller were in second place after the first heat, but the crew took over the lead in the second heat with a combined time of 1:57.00. They are 0.03 seconds ahead of their teammates Johannes Lochner, Florian Bauer, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp, who were the leaders in the first run. Canadians Justin Kripps, Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell are 0.38 seconds off the pace in third with a two-run total of 1:57.38. A German sweep, like in two-man bobsled, is not out of the realm of possibility. The German sled driven by Christoph Hafer is in fourth place with two more runs to go.
Racing continues tonight with the final two heats of the two-woman bobsled competition at 8 p.m. local time. The four-man finale will conclude the Olympic sliding events tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
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Results (heat 1 & 2)
1. Francesco Friedrich, Thorsten Margis, Candy Bauer and Alexander Schueller (GER) 1:57.00 (58.29, 58.71);
2. Johannes Lochner, Florian Bauer, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp (GER) 1:57.03 (58.13, 58.90);
3. Justin Kripps, Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell (CAN) 1:57.38 (58.38, 59.00);
13. Hunter Church, Joshua Williamson, Kristopher Horn and Charlie Volker (USA) 1:58.61 (58.91, 59.70);
T-14. Frank Del Duca, Carlo Valdes, James Reed and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (USA) 1:58.82 (59.26, 59.56)
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.