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Scary Bobsled Crash Led Kristi Koplin Home Early, Just In Time To Fight COVID-19 As Urgent Care Nurse

Kristi Koplin, a pilot on the U.S. bobsled team, posted an emotional message on her Instagram account on Jan. 8, essentially telling the world she might be done with her sport.

The 33-year-old Koplin was hurt, struggling with the pain and injuries from a serious crash during her second-to-last run during a competition in Lake Placid, New York. The crash was so hard, she said, that she blacked out and woke up fearing she’d been paralyzed. Thankfully she wasn’t, but she had terrible bruises all over her body, another concussion and the growing realization that her life may not be building toward the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

So Koplin came home to Park City, Utah, to heal — physically and emotionally — and head back to work as an urgent care nurse.

She’s been alternating between bobsled and nursing for years, so the switch was normal. But soon the whole world turned upside down, as the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread, and Koplin became part of a team at Intermountain Healthcare testing for the virus at a drive-up clinic in an underground level of a parking garage.

“It’s been intense, because there is so much anxiety right now,” said Koplin, who is also a captain in the Army Reserve. “I try to help the people coming in by being calm, and giving them the knowledge and comfort that we’re here for them. We can figure out what is going on, test them and try to get them the info and the help they need. 

“But yeah, it’s been go, go, go for the past couple of weeks, and that’s not going to stop anytime soon since Utah has it pretty bad where I am.”

Koplin is seeing a steady stream of sick people of all ages. The hard part is hearing their stories of fear and illness, as COVID-19 is the main theme of every conversation. She is dressed in full protective gear, making her look more like an astronaut than a caring nurse trying to test or triage — all in a parking lot, no less.

“Your heart breaks when you hear people are running low on inhalers, or they can’t find Mucinex or Tylenol in the store,” she said. “The essentials are running low everywhere and you want to help them, like the mom who can’t find Motrin to help break her daughter’s fever. I really want to help them.”

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The COVID-19 virus weighs on Koplin’s mind too, as she lives with her two over-70 parents. She is isolating herself in the basement, trying to avoid bringing anything home from the testing station to her family.

“I understand the anxiety, I go up and down with it too,” she said. “I think my greatest fear would be to expose them — and have them come down with it. That is the scary part, you don’t know if you are carrying it with you. So that is why staying at home is so important for everybody to limit the spread. I can’t stay home, because I am part of the health care system, but I am trying to do my part at home.”

Koplin likely will not be home much longer though, as her reserve unit (Army Reserve 328 Field Hospital) is getting activated and will soon be deployed. She doesn’t know where she will be in the U.S., but she’s eager to help serve the areas in need.

Koplin now sees her early end to the bobsled season as a hidden blessing. She was having a strong season, ranked second overall in the second-tier North American Cup. She had won three gold medals and two silvers. But if she had not crashed and been injured, she would have continued the season until it ended due to the pandemic. Meaning she would have come back to nursing tired and a bit beat up from bobsled.

“I got a chance to rest. I got a chance to heal, and both those things helped me jump into this and deal with the grind,” Koplin said. “I really can see things happened the way the needed to.”

She’s back to working out, thanks to some equipment at her sister’s house, and the time and space from her crash has brought new perspective.

She doesn’t have to make any big decisions about bobsled right now.

“When that injury happened, my immediate thought was, I am done,” she said. “I went through a week of depression after that. Now, I am more like, I don’t want to be done. The Olympics are so close, it’s knocking at the door.

“I feel good, I still have so much passion about doing everything I am doing. So, I am just going to keep going, staying in shape and seeing where life takes me. I can feel it in my soul: this is what I need to be doing right now. I am helping people, and I am getting mobilized. And I am ready.”

Joanne C. Gerstner has covered two Olympic Games and writes regularly for the New York Times and other outlets about sports. She has written for TeamUSA.org since 2009 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Team USA


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.

NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. 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.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

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);

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, Snap Fitness, Boomerang Carnets, Qwixskinz, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website atwww.usabs.com.


Church and Williamson finish 19th in two-man bobsled World Championships

ALTENBERG, Germany (Feb. 23, 2020)– Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) and Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.) gained a spot to finish 19th in the two-man bobsled World Championship finale in Altenberg today. It rained throughout the night, creating wet and frosty conditions for today’s final two heats.

“It was a much different day, the ice was much slower from the rain,” Church said. “Overall I’m happy to be able to clean up some things from yesterday, and I’m feeling better heading into four-man. It’s good that I’m experiencing these challenges now, and hopefully I can continue to get better.”

Church and Williamson posted start times of 5.38 and 5.35 seconds today for runs of 57.17 and 56.57 seconds, respectively. His third run was 16th best of the heat, and his final run was 10th fastest. Church and Williamson edged closer to the field and finished 19th with a four-run combined time of 3:44.49.

“Today was a good note to end on in two-man,” said USA Bobsled Head Coach Mike Kohn. “Hunter has the same championship mentality as Kaillie Humphries. He’s 23 years old and this is only his second world championship. He’s doing great.”

Germany’s Francesco Friedrich won his sixth consecutive two-man World Championship today with Thorsten Margis. The duo was dominant, and won by 1.65 seconds with a total time of 3:40.44. Johannes Lochner and Christopher Weber from Germany moved into silver medal position with an aggregate time of 3:42.09. Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis from Latvia denied the Germans a sweep of the medals. The Latvians moved up from fifth to claim the bronze medal with a cumulative time of 3:42.23. Germans Nico Walther and Eric Franke dropped back into fourth.

The 2020 World Championships will continue next week with the women’s and men’s skeleton races, a mixed skeleton team event, and the four-man bobsled competition. Raced pick up again on Thursday, Feb. 27, and will conclude on Sunday, March 1.

NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. 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.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.


Results

1. Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis (GER) 3:40.44 (54.00, 54.09, 55.98, 56.37);

2. Johannes Lochner and Christopher Weber (GER) 3:42.09 (54.59, 54.59, 56.36, 56.55);

3. Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis (LAT) 3:42.23 (54.49, 54.72, 56.35, 56.67);

19. Hunter Church and Josh Williamson (USA) 3:44.49 (55.25, 55.50, 57.17, 56.57);

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, Snap Fitness, Boomerang Carnets, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.


Humphries and Gibbs lead women’s bobsled World Championships after first two heats

Photo credit: IBSF

ALTENBERG, Germany (Feb. 21, 2020)– Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Lauren Gibbs (Los Angeles, Calif.) currently lead the women’s bobsled World Championships after the first day of racing in Altenberg, Germany. The Americans have a lead of 0.21 seconds, but Humphries isn’t celebrating yet.

“There are still two more runs tomorrow and a lot can happen and change,” Humphries said. “I’m going to treat tomorrow like another race. I’ll debrief with the coaches to go over what worked and what didn’t, and we’ll come back tomorrow with our best.”

Humphries and Gibbs matched Germans Stephanie Schneider and Leonie Fiebig at the start with the fastest push time of 5.63 seconds in the opening heat. Humphries guided the Omaze branded sled to the finish in 56.47 seconds to pull away from the Germans by 0.03 seconds.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki and Kira Lipperheide put pressure on the field in the second heat with a run of 56.45 seconds, which moved them ahead of Schneider and Fiebig by a large margin of 0.33 seconds. Humphries and Gibbs responded with a blistering start time of 5.62 and downtime of 56.33 seconds to pull away even further from the field. The U.S. pair has a two-run total of 1:52.80 to give them a lead of 0.21 seconds heading into tomorrow’s final heats.

“It’s great having coach Shauna Rohbock here to go over lines at the finish, because we could debrief right away after each run to make a plan for the next run,” Humphries said. “I’ve been through four heat races before, and it’s not time to get excited yet. There’s still a lot racing left.”

Rohbock is an expert driver to gain advice from, and today is the 14-year anniversary of Rohbock’s silver medal finish at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

Kalicki, who won her first career World Cup medals earlier this season in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Lipperheide and currently in second place with a total time of 1:53.01. Schneider and Fiebig are in third with an aggregate time of 1:53.34. Reigning Olympic champions Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek from Germany are also in the medal hunt in fourth position with a cumulative time of 1:53.44.

The deciding heats for the women’s bobsled competition will take place tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. local time, following the opening heats of the men’s two-man bobsled event at 11:30 a.m.

NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. 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.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Kaillie Humphries and Lauren Gibbs (USA) 1:52.80 (56.47, 56.33);
2. Kim Kalicki and Kira Lipperheide (GER) 1:53.01 (56.56, 56.45);
3. Stephanie Schneider and Leonie Fiebig (GER) 1:53.34 (56.50, 56.84);

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, Snap Fitness, Boomerang Carnets, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

Team USA


D’Arpino collects silver and bronze medals in Park City’s women’s monobob event

PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 17, 2020)– Vanessa D’Arpino (Grants Pass, Ore.) claimed silver and bronze medals in Park City’s two-day women’s monobob event over the weekend to lead the U.S. team. Shelby Williamson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Lake Kwaza (Sycamore, Ill.) also posted strong performances for Team USA, each finishing in the top six both days.

This is D’Arpino’s debut season, and she’s only raced once before this week; she finished 12th in the Lake Placid monobob race in November.

“This season I came in with low expectations, and I didn’t know where I’d end up in the sport,” D’Arpino said. “Starting with rookie camp and push champs for bobsled, to sliding skeleton for a couple weeks, it was a process figuring out where I was going to do. However, I knew bobsled was for me and I was thankful when coach Mike Dionne got me in the driver’s seat. So far I have loved it.”

D’Arpino was close to qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Team as a track athlete, but she fell just short of her goal. The setback turned into an opportunity when USABS Director of Athlete Development Mike Dionne sent her a direct message on Twitter asking if she wanted to consider trying out for the bobsled team.

D’Arpino admits that she initially thought it was “weird,” but after speaking with Dionne on the phone about the opportunity, she decided to give it a try.

“My goal for this year was to learn as much as I could and stay as involved as much as possible,” D’Arpino said. “We discussed a few monobob races early into training, and being the competitive person I am, I joked about reaching the podium after only a couple weeks of driving. Coming into Park City with more confidence and training, I told coach Dionne I was getting that podium, and he was fully supportive. It’s awesome to actually reach that goal.”

The former University of Oregon sprinter was the fastest athlete off the start block in race one with push times of 5.63 and 5.64 seconds. D’Arpino crossed the finish line in 54.89 seconds, which was second best of the heat, and 55.58 seconds to secure the bronze medal in 1:50.47.

Karlien Sleper from the Netherlands was race one’s winner in 1:49.20, while Ashleigh Werner from Great Britain was second in 1:50.38.

Williamson was just off her teammates pace in fourth place with a combined time of 1:51.00 after posting runs of 55.42 and 55.58 seconds. Kwaza, who is easing back into bobsled after joining the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, finished sixth with a combined time of 1:51.38.

“It is so good to be back on ice,” Kwaza said. “I joined the Army right after last season in May. I spent all summer doing Army training and got back on November 1st and right into a sled.”

Kwaza is no stranger to success on the ice. She has four World Cup medals, all won as a push athlete for Elana Meyers Taylor. Since returning to the ice after her Army training, Kwaza has jumped from the back of the sled into the driver’s seat.

“So far I have been extremely frustrated because, like anything new, it takes time and I have a hard time waiting,” Kwaza said. “But the time I’ve spent being in the front seat has been extremely valuable and I’m excited to continue with this path.”

D’Arpino was back on the podium in race two, earning the silver medal with a combined time of 1:58.99 after clocking runs of 57.99 and 1:01.00. Sleper was again victorious, this time with a two-run total of 1:56.63. Marina Silva Tuono from Brazil claimed bronze in 1:59.39.

Kwaza moved up into fifth place in race two after posting runs of 58.67 and 1:01.11 for a total time of 1:59.78. Williamson was sixth in 2:00.29 to place all Team USA competitors in the top six in both races.

Kwaza said she’s been able to use her veteran teammates as extra coaches as she learns in her new role as a driver.

“The drivers that we have on the team are just amazing human beings and are all about Team USA being successful,” Kwaza said. “Not one of them have declined helping me out in any way. No matter what stage I’m at, I have always felt like I’ve had the entire team behind me. Coach Dionne has also been so patient and helpful.”

“I have the best teammates around, and we’re constantly supporting each other,” D’Arpino said. “Lake Kwaza and I have been paired up since day one in the process of learning how to drive and I am her biggest fan. It’s going to be fun to progress as drivers together.”

There are two monobob events remaining this season; in La Plagne, France from March 2-8, and Lake Placid, N.Y. from March 30-April 3.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

Race #1
1. Karlien Sleper (NED) 1:49.20 (54.73, 54.47);
2. Ashleigh Werner (GBR) 1:50.38 (55.30, 55.08);
3. Vanessa D’Arpino (USA) 1:50.47 (54.89, 55.58);
4. Shelby Williamson (USA) 1:51.00 (55.42, 55.58);
6. Lake Kwaza (USA) 1:51.38 (55.67, 55.71);

Race #2

1. Karlien Sleper (NED) 1:56.63 (57.36, 59.27);
2. Vanessa D’Arpino (USA) 1:58.99 (57.99, 1:01.00);
3. Marina Silva Tuono (BRA) 1:59.39 (58.44, 1:00.95);
5. Lake Kwaza (USA) 1:59.78 (58.67, 1:01.11);
6. Shelby Williamson (USA) 2:00.29 (59.48, 1:00.81);

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. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

Source: TeamUSA


Florian top American finisher in St. Moritz’s men’s skeleton World Cup

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 30, 2020)– Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) was the top American finisher in this morning’s men’s skeleton World Cup after finishing 19th in St. Moritz. This was Florian’s second career competition on the all-natural track.

Florian was tied for 16th position with Austrian Samuel Maier after a first heat time of 1:08.69. The American bettered his start time from 4.92 to 4.89 seconds in the final heat, and despite a nice looking run Florian fell back three spots with a downtime of 1:09.16. He finished 19th with a combined time of 2:17.85.

Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) and Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho) finished 26th and 29th, respectively. Blaser never competed in St. Moritz before today, and Ivanov had just two European Cup competitions under his belt heading into this week’s race. Ivanov clocked a start time of 5.06 for a run of 1:09.55, while Blaser pushed off the block in 4.90 for a downtime of 1:10.00.

Martins Dukurs from Latvia was today’s victor with a total time of 2:15.89. Germany’s Felix Keisinger claimed the silver medal with a two-run total of 2:16.20, followed closely behind by his teammate Axel Jungk in third with a cumulative time of 2:16.23. Sungbin Yun of Korea was the first run leader, but he fell back into fourth with only the ninth best second heat time. The Chinese are starting to stake their claim in the sport leading into 2022. Wengang Yan and Wenquiang Geng finished seventh and ninth today.

Racing continues with the women’s skeleton competition at 1 p.m. local time. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. 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.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 2:15.89 (1:07.73, 1:08.16);
2. Felix Keisinger (GER) 2:16.20 (1:07.98, 1:08.22);
3. Axel Jungk 2:16.23 (1:07.79, 1:08.44);
19. Austin Florian (USA) 2:17.85 (1:08.69, 1:09.16);
26. Alex Ivanov (USA) (1:09.55, DNS);
29. Andrew Blaser (USA) (1:10.00, 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. For more information, please visit the USABS website atwww.usabs.com.


IBSF World Cup makes seventh stop on famed St. Moritz track

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 29, 2020)– The famed all-natural iced track of St. Moritz will host the seventh of eight stops on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation World Cup tour this week.

This will be the last World Cup of the season for the U.S. bobsledders. The bobsled team has opted to spend extra time in Germany to prepare for the 2020 World Championships in lieu of traveling to Latvia for the eighth and final World Cup.

The detailed schedule is as follows, with all times listed in local time:

Friday, Jan. 31
9:30 a.m.: Men’s skeleton heat #1

11:15 a.m.: Men’s skeleton heat #2

1 p.m.: Women’s skeleton heat #1

2:45 p.m.: Women’s skeleton heat #2

Saturday, Feb. 1
9:30 a.m.: Women’s bobsled heat #1

11 a.m.: Women’s bobsled heat #2

1 p.m.: Men’s two-man bobsled heat #1

2:30 p.m.: Men’s two-man bobsled heat #2

Sunday, Feb. 2
10 a.m.: Four-man bobsled heat #1

11:30 a.m.: Four-man bobsled heat #2

NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland from January 31- February 2. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app, which is available on the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.), Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) and Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) will represent Team USA in the women’s skeleton competition, while Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho), Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) and Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) will compete in the men’s race.

Wesenberg has raced in St. Moritz five times, and she claimed her first career World Cup medal, a silver, on the Swiss course in January 2017. The gliding track suits Wesenberg’s driving style, and she’s a favorite for the medals on Friday. Henry has competed in two Intercontinental Cup competitions in St. Moritz, while Graybill has raced in three World Cup races on the famed track.

Blaser has never competed in St. Moritz before. Ivanov has two European Cup competitions under his belt on the Swiss course, while Florian has raced in one World Cup in St. Moritz.

Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Lauren Gibbs (Los Angeles, Calif.) will team together for the fifth time this season. Humphries and Gibbs started the season with double gold medals. Humphries has a history of success in St. Moritz, having earned three World Cup medals and the 2013 World Championship title there.

St. Moritz is one of the few tracks outside of North America that Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) has some experience on. Church raced to 15th place in the 2018 Junior World Championships in Switzerland. Church will race with Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.) in Saturday’s two-man race. Williamson, Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Kris Horn (Pembroke, Mass.) will be Church’s push crew on Sunday in the four-man completion, which is the final four-man race of the World Cup season.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

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. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

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Two Americans in top 10 of women’s skeleton World Cup in Koenigssee

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 24, 2020)– The U.S. women’s skeleton team posted impressive performances in this morning’s World Cup race in Koeniggssee, with Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) finishing sixth, Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) ninth, and Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) 14th.

“Our athletes did a great job of getting each section nailed down this week during training and trusting that they could put it together on race day,” said USA Skeleton Technical and Development Lead Coach Caleb Smith. “Megan hasn’t been here in four years, and she did an exceptional job of piecing it together today. Savannah struggled with a combination on the track, and ripped through the door on her second run today. It was really great to see those breakthroughs.”

Henry said training was challenging this week, and that she nearly crashed a few times.

“I really struggled with Kreisel this week and almost lost my sled a couple times,” Henry said. “It made me super anxious, but those types of things need to happen. I was squeaking by early in the week, but I wasn’t doing the correct things. Almost crashing made me hyper focus.”

Henry is fresh off her first career World Cup medal, bronze, in last week’s race in Igls, Austria, and she was knocking on the door of the medal stand again today. Henry has raced in six Intercontinental Cup competitions in Koenigssee before this week, but never a World Cup. Henry posted push times of 5.06 and 5.01 seconds, fifth best of both heats, to put her in medal contention from the start. She was in seventh position after a first downtime of 51.98 seconds, and moved up a spot with a second heat run of 51.87 seconds. Henry finished sixth with two-run total of 1:43.86.

“My goal today was to have two consistent runs, and I’m really happy with where I ended up,” Henry said. “When I crossed the finish line and Tuffy (Latour) told me my time, I said, ‘what, that sounds pretty good.’ It was really exciting. I was not expecting to be in the top six, and I can’t be disappointed with that.”

Team Germany finished 1-2 today. Tina Hermann broke the track record in the second heat with a downtime of 51.24 seconds on the way to securing the gold medal with a cumulative time of 1:42.79. Jacqueline Loelling finished second in 1:42.97, followed by Russian Elana Nikitina in third with an aggregate time of 1:43.20.

Graybill started off with the 20th best start time of 5.22 seconds, and drove herself up into 12th position with a downtime of 52.24 seconds. She bettered her start to 5.18 in run two, and threaded together a flawless run of 51.80 seconds. Smith pumped his fist in the coach’s box in celebration when Graybill crossed the finish line. Graybill’s combined time of 1:44.04 moved her up three spots into ninth for her best finish this season, and her best career World Cup result in Koenigssee.

In her eighth career race in Koenigssee, Wesenberg finished 14th with a two-run total time of 1:44.72. Wesenberg posted start times of 5.25 and 5.26 seconds for runs of 52.30 and 52.42 seconds, respectively.

Racing continues this afternoon with the men’s skeleton competition at 3:30 p.m. local time. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage. 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.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

Results

1. Tina Hermann (GER) 1:42.79 (51.55, 51.24);
2. Jacqueline Loelling (GER) 1:42.97 (51.64, 51.33);
3.  Elana Nikitina (RUS) 1:43.20 (51.61, 51.59);
6. Megan Henry (USA) 1:43.86 (51.98, 51.87);
9. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:44.04 (52.24, 51.80);
14. Kendall Wesenberg (USA) 1:44.72 (52.30, 52.42);

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. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

Source: Team USA


Koenigssee hosts sixth stop of IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup tour

Mike Kohn

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 22, 2020)– Koenigssee will host the sixth of eight stops of the IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup tour this week. The German track was completed in 1968, and was the first artificially refrigerated track in the world.

The competition schedule is as follows, with all times listed in local time:

Friday, Jan. 24

11:30 a.m.: Women’s skeleton run #1

1 p.m.: Women’s skeleton run #2

3:30 p.m.: Men’s skeleton run #1

5:15 p.m.: Men’s skeleton run #2

Saturday, Jan. 25

12 p.m.: Women’s bobsled run #1

1:30 p.m.: Women’s bobsled run #2

3 p.m.: Men’s two-man bobsled run #1

4:30 p.m.: Men’s two-man bobsled run #2

Sunday, Jan. 26

1:30 p.m.: Four-man bobsled run #1

3 p.m.: Four-man bobsled run #2

Fans can watch the action live and on demand. NBC Sports and Olympic Channel will have broadcast and digital streaming coverage of the IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup in Koenigssee. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app, which is available on the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Additional coverage will be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.), Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) and Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) will compete for Team USA in women’s skeleton. Henry is fresh off her first career World Cup medal, bronze, in last week’s race in Igls, Austria, and she’s hungry for the medals once more. Henry has raced in six Intercontinental Cup competitions in Koenigssee before this week. Graybill has the most experience of the three women with eight races in Koenigssee on her resume, including a 16th place finish in the 2017 World Championships. Wesenberg has raced on the German track seven times, including fourth place finishes in the 2014 European Cup that helped her secure the 2015 overall title.

Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho), Austin Florian (Southington, Conn.) and Alex Ivanov (Carlisle, Mass.) will follow the women on Friday in the men’s skeleton competition. This is Blaser’s first time in Koenigssee, and only Florian’s third. Ivanov has competed in Koenigssee six times in various European Cup and Intercontinental Cup races.

In women’s bobsled, Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) will again team with Sylvia Hoffman (Arlington, Texas). The duo claimed bronze together in last week’s Igls race. Humphries is no stranger to success in Koenigssee– she’s earned seven World Cup medals and two World Championship medals on the track. The last time she raced the German course was in January 2018, when she finished second for Team Canada.

Hunter Church (Cadyville, N.Y.) is once again learning a new track. The 23-year-old will race with Kyle Wilcox (Tampa, Fla.) in Saturday’s two-man competition. Church’s four-man crew for Sunday will be Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.), Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Kris Horn (Pembroke, Mass.). Church had a breakthrough last weekend, when he claimed his first career four-man bobsled World Cup bronze medal with Williamson, Reed and Horn. It was the first World Cup medal in three years for a U.S. men’s team on foreign soil.

Please contact USABS Marketing & Communications Director Amanda Bird at 518-354-2250, or amanda.bird@usabs.com, with media inquiries.

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. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.

Source: TeamUSA