Blaser and Florian in the hunt for top 20 of men’s skeleton World Championships
ALTENBERG, Germany (Feb. 27, 2020)– Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) and Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) finished the first day of men’s skeleton World Championships in 22nd and 24th position, respectively. The developing athletes have little experience on the challenging course. Florian has competed in one World Cup race and two European Cup competitions in Altenberg before, while this is Blaser’s first time racing the German track.
“I like this track, I enjoy it,” Blaser said. “I’ve been struggling in Kreisel and the second run it got away from me. Trying to be dialed in for my first worlds is kind of a big task. Being here for my first big championship and racing the Germans on home ice and on a track with a reputation like Altenberg is going to pay off.”
Blaser pushed off with the 23rd best start time of 5.17 seconds and drove himself up a few spots into 21st with a downtime of 57.54 seconds in the first heat. Florian was just four-hundredths of a second off his teammate’s pace after clocking the 10th best start time of 5.04 seconds for a run of 57.58.
Blaser bettered his start to 5.12 in the second run and posted a time of 57.58 seconds to finish day one in 22nd with a total time of 1:55.12.
“If I can dial it in first run tomorrow, I can close the gap to the top 20,” Blaser said.
Florian was a tad slower in his second push with a 5.10, and he crossed the finish line in 57.71 seconds for a two-run total of 1:55.29. He’s in 24th position heading into tomorrow’s finale.
“I feel good about my start times, but it doesn’t mean anything if I can’t get down the hill,” Florian said. “When my push has been off, my driving has been on and vice versa. It’s unacceptable. I don’t feel as sharp as I did last season and I need to spend some time getting back mentally to where I was last year.”
Germans currently occupy the top three positions. Christopher Grotheer leads with a total time of 1:52.03, and he set a new track record in run two with a run of 55.86 seconds. Alexander Gassner is 0.09 seconds off the pace in second with a cumulative time of 1:52.12. Axel Jungk has a combined time of 1:52.38 for third spot. World Cup title winner Martins Dukurs from Latvia is currently fourth in 1:52.55, and can’t be counted out for the medals.
Racing continues tomorrow with the first two heats of the women’s skeleton competition at 9:30 a.m. local time, followed by the men’s skeleton finale at 1 p.m.
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1. Christopher Grotheer (GER) 1:52.03 (56.17, 55.86);
2. Alexander Gassner (GER) 1:52.12 (56.21, 55.91);
3. Axel Jungk (GER) 1:52.38 (56.15, 56.23);
22. Andrew Blaser (USA) 1:55.12 (57.54, 57.58);
24. Austin Florian (USA) 1:55.29 (57.58, 57.71);
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