2016-17 Season Kicks Off with Skeleton National Push Championships
13 Sep, 2016
After a long summer of training, the 2016-17 season commences with National Push Championships, held in Calgary, Alberta, over the next two weeks.
Skeleton Push Championships, which will take place Sept. 15, will feature the top sliders in the country, including last season's national champion Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Olympians Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.).
Each athlete will get two push-starts on Calgary's indoor Ice House, and their times will be combined to determine a winner. While results are not officially counted toward team selection, head skeleton coach Tuffy Latour said the added ice time will prove beneficial for the athletes.
"This year we moved the push championships to Calgary to get the athletes a chance to push on ice before the season starts," Latour said. " We're really excited about what we've seen so far. The turnout was bigger than expected and many of the athletes came early to get extra ice-time."
Antoine, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, returns to the ice after taking ninth in the World Championships in Sochi last season. He also took fourth-place in two World Cup races last season. Nathan Crumpton (Park City, Utah) and Kyle Brown (Concord, N.H.) will also compete in the Push Championships after spending time on the World Cup circuit last season.
On the women's side, the three-time Olympian Uhlaender medaled in every Intercontinental Cup and North American Cup race she competed in last season while rehabbing from ankle surgery. O'Shea, meanwhile, competed on the World Cup circuit and medaled twice, including a gold in the Lake Placid, N.Y., race.
In total, 31 skeleton athletes will compete in Push Championships. The competition will be followed by the bobsled Push Championships on Sept. 21.
About USA Bobsled & Skeleton: USA Bobsled & Skeleton, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, Classroom Champions, Aspen Institute's Project Play, Tesa Tape, UberSense, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Protostar, Machintek, deBotech, Carpenter and PVS International. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.