GLS, Austria (Jan. 17, 2020)– Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) put together two solid runs to claim bronze in today’s women’s skeleton World Cup in Igls. Today was only Henry’s fifth World Cup appearance. Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) and also had strong performances, finishing 14th and 18th, respectively.
“I’m super excited to have my first World Cup medal,” Henry said.
Henry started her campaign for the medals with a start time of 5.36 seconds and the third best run of 53.80 seconds. Only five-hundredths of a second separated the top five after the first heat. Russian Elena Nikitina was one-hundredth of a second ahead in silver medal position, and hometown competitor Janine Flock was three-hundredths ahead in first place. Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling was on Henry’s heels, just two-hundredths behind in fourth.
“I knew that I had a really good run, but I didn’t know how good,” Henry said. “I got to the bottom and Tuffy (Latour) told me my position and I was like, ‘Oh, ok,” Henry said. “I kind of felt like my legs were jello before the second run. I knew that I could medal as long as I stayed consistent with my push.”
Henry nearly matched her first run start time with a 5.37 push, and the American raced to the finish in 53.90 seconds. She had fallen back a spot, but would later gain it back.
Kimberly Murray from Great Britain surprised even herself with the track record of 53.70 seconds in the second heat. This was Murray’s 10th career World Cup race. She was in 16th place after the first heat, and moved up eight spots to finish eighth. The pressure was on for the remaining competitors.
Loelling broke Murray’s newly set track record with a second run of 53.62 seconds to leap past Henry and take over the lead to win with a combined time of 1:47.44. Flock bumped back one spot into second place with a total time of 1:47.46. Nikitina fell back into fourth to finish behind Henry with only the 10th best run of the second heat. Henry claimed bronze with a total time of 1:47.70.
“There were a couple of mistakes I would have liked to clean up, but when I realized I had medaled I was super excited,” Henry said. ”I can’t be disappointed with my first World Cup medal.”
Wesenberg finished 14th with a two-run combined time of 1:48.59. She clocked start times of 5.69 and 5.72 seconds for runs of 54.31 and 54.28 seconds, respectively.
“Good drive,” said USA Skeleton Technical and Development Lead Coach Caleb Smith from the coach’s box after Wesenberg’s final run.
Graybill pushed identical start times of 5.60 seconds in both heats. She posted a downtime of 54.46 in the first heat, and 54.38 in run two for a combined time of 1:48.84 to lock in 18th place.
Tomorrow will feature the women’s bobsled race at 10 a.m. local time, and the two-man bobsled competition at 2 p.m. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the races. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.
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1. Jacqueline Loelling (GER) 1:47.44 (53.82, 53.62);
2. Janine Flock (AUT) 1:47.46 (53.77, 53.69);
3. Megan Henry (USA) 1:47.70 (53.80, 53.90);
14. Kendall Wesenberg (USA) 1:48.59 (54.31, 54.28);
18. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:48.84 (54.46, 54.38);
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