Blaser leads USA Skeleton in fifth career World Cup
IGLS, Austria (Jan. 17, 2020)– Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) led the U.S. in this morning’s men’s skeleton World Cup in Igls with an 18th place finish. It was the first time Blaser has raced in Igls. Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) and Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) finished 26th and 28th, respectively.
This is Blaser’s World Cup debut season, and his first time racing the European tracks. Today was the fifth World Cup race of Blaser’s career, and the first time he’s qualified for the second heat. Blaser was the only North American to make the top 20 today.
“We knew it was going to be a development year for me,” Blaser said. “It was my first time in La Plagne (France), my first time in Winterberg (Germany), my first time here– I’m getting those first runs under my belt this season. It was overwhelming at first, but it’s exciting and things are starting to come together over time.”
The Igls track favors fast starters, which gave Blaser a boost today. He posted a first run start time of 5.01 seconds, which was 10th best of the field, and raced to the finish in 53.27 seconds for 19th place to qualify for the second heat. Only the top 20 athletes after the first heat are granted a second run.
“I was elated,” Blaser said.
He nearly matched his first run start time in heat two with a push of 5.02, and moved up a spot with a downtime of 53.05 seconds. Blaser finished 18th with a combined time of 1:46.32.
When USA Skeleton Head Coach Tuffy Latour handed Blaser the phone for this interview, his first reaction was, “Did my mom get Tuffy’s number?”
“This is all new to me,” Blaser said.
Latvian Martins Dukurs was today’s winner in 1:44.50. Reigning Olympic champion Sungbin Yun of Korea was a distant 0.42 seconds behind in second place with a total time of 1:44.92. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov claimed the bronze medal in 1:44.94.
Florian and Ivanov both missed the top 20 cutoff for the second heat. Florian clocked the 22nd best start time of 5.11, and slid to the finish in 53.63 seconds for 26th. Ivanov was 28th fastest off the start with a push time of 5.17, and he maintained 28th place at the finish with a downtime of 53.74.
The women’s skeleton race is up next at 2 p.m. local time. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the Igls 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. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 1:44.50 (52.34, 52.16);
2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:44.92 (52.66, 52.26);
3. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:44.94 (52.53, 52.41);
18. Andrew Blaser (USA) 1:46.32 (53.27, 53.05);
26. Austin Florian (USA) (53.63, DNS);
28. Alex Ivanov (USA) (53.74, 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, Omaze, Kampgrounds of America, BiPro, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter.