LAKE PLACID - The U.S. team is hoping to maintain momentum this weekend after a successful first weekend of World Championship medal performances on Mount Van Hoevenberg.
Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling secured bronze in the women's bobsled race on Saturday, Feb. 18 to continue the program's trajectory of success, while Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton made history as the first U.S. team to win a two-man bobsled World Championship crown on Sunday, Feb. 19. The bobsled and skeleton team combined efforts to claim the team event title as well to medal in all three events.
The action continues at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 with the first two heats of women's skeleton, and finals will take place at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
With Chris Fogt on the brakes, USA 2 driver John Napier of Lake Placid pumps his fist Sunday, Feb. 19 after finishing the final heat of the two-man bobsled World Championship race at Mount Van Hoevenberg. The pair finished sixth.
Men's skeleton athletes start their contest for gold at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, with finals taking place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The World Championships culminate with the four-man bobsled competition. The first two heats begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by the finals at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26.
Katie Uhlaender and Annie O'Shea will represent the U.S. in the women's skeleton competitions on Thursday and Friday. Uhlaender decided to become a dual athlete as a weightlifter and skeleton athlete and holds the Lake Placid start record.
"This has been a challenging season balancing my training for weightlifting and skeleton, but this is a dream for me," Uhlaender said. "It's a little overwhelming, but these next few weeks are what I've been building towards. My goal all year was skeleton World Championships and weightlifting Olympic trials, and I'm ready to meet the challenge."
Other athletes to watch include British Olympic medalist Shelley Rudman, who earned the overall World Cup title this year. Rudman will be hungry to add world champion to her growing sliding resume, and will be a serious contender for the medals.
German Marion Thees is the defending world champion, and her teammate Anja Huber is a former world champion and Olympic medalist. Both athletes will be tough competitors on the Lake Placid track.
Matt Antoine and John Daly will represent the U.S. in the men's skeleton races on Friday and Saturday. The teammates were battling it out for the track record during national championships last March, but Antoine surged ahead to put his name in the books as the fastest men's skeleton athlete to cross the Lake Placid finish line.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Daly said. "Lake Placid is my home track, and I know I can be fast here. I've had an inconsistent season, but I feel confident that we can put together some good runs to make a run for the medals. It's been a great start for the U.S. in the first weekend, and hopefully we can continue the swing of success into this weekend."
Athletes to watch include Martins Dukurs, who has been dubbed "Superman" for his dominance in the sport. He won the 2011 World Championship and World Cup titles. A 2010 Olympic silver medalist, Dukurs looks to continue his dominance by winning the 2012 title this weekend. Sliding fast is a family affair in the Dukurs family. Tomass Dukurs is the older brother to Martins, and is also a threat for gold.
Other athletes that will fight for position on the podium include Alexander Tretiakov, who is nicknamed the "Russian Rocket" for his blistering start times. Frank Rommel leads a strong contingent of German slider and will also be a threat for the medals.
World Championships will conclude on Sunday with four-man bobsled finals. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) broke a 50-year medal drought when he and his four-man crew won the 2009 World Championship in Lake Placid. Holcomb and his current team of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) will look to fiercely defend the Lake Placid title in an effort to make history again.
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) will pilot USA-2 and USA-3, respectively, alongside push athletes Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah), Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.), Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas). All three U.S. sleds are favorites for the podium on home ice.
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