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U.S. National Bobsled Push Championships Start Thursday in Lake Placid

16 Oct, 2014


The first step towards making a bid for a spot on the national bobsled team begins this week with 2014 U.S. National Bobsled Push Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. The competition will rank push athletes going into the season, and pilots will build their teams for national team selection races from this pool of athletes.

"Having good results in this competition and showing how fast they can push a sled will be the first step in an athlete's bid to make not only a development team, but also the possibility to make the national team," said Brian Shimer, U.S. national bobsled team head coach. "We have some big shoes to fill and I have all the confidence that we are on the right track to make that happen."

The competition will take place on the newly constructed wheeled push track at the Olympic Training Center, and the schedule is as follows, with all times listed in EST:

Thursday, Oct. 16:
10 am: Men's and women's drivers
1 pm: Women's push athletes

Friday, Oct. 17:
10 am: Men's push athletes  

With only two returning Olympic push athletes, Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), the coaching staff is eager to see who rises to the top from the crop of rookies that were inspired by the medal performances at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. 

"This will be the biggest turnover of athletes that I have seen in the sport since I've been coaching," Shimer said. "We have a lot of rebuilding to do, and we have a great group of rookie athletes with potential that are ready to step up to the challenge."

Williams joined an exclusive club as one of only five athletes to win medals in both the Winter and Summer Games after claiming the women's bobsled Olympic silver medal with pilot Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) in Sochi. Williams is expected to lead a competitive roster of new athletes, which includes Lauren Gibbs (Denver, Colo.), who already impressed the coaching staff after winning preliminary push championships last month.

Olsen was a member of Steven Holcomb's (Park City, Utah) history-making 2010 Olympic gold medal four-man bobsled team and became a two-time Olympian as a pusher in Nick Cunningham's (Monterey, Calif.) squad in Sochi. His veteran experience and leadership will be vital to developing rookie athletes that may ultimately become his teammates this season. Alex Harrison (Edmonds, Wash.) edged out a hungry field of rookies to win preliminary push championships, and coaches expect a fierce competition from the more than 30 men entered into this week's event. 

On ice results are the combined outcome of push athlete and driver effort, making push championships an important competition for push athletes to show their individual talents. Drivers will analyze push championship results before selecting their team of athletes for national team trials, which begin in Lake Placid next week. 

Media and fans are encouraged to attend U.S. National Bobsled Push Championships.  The push track is located at the rear of the Olympic Training Center. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250.  

Stay updated on the team's progress leading up to the biggest event of the season by following the team on the USBSF Twitter page or the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Facebook page. 

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation?: The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real EstateUnder Armour, Kampgrounds of America, CEVA Logistics, Eastern European Distribution Company, Boomerang Carnets, Latta Kefir, 24 Hour FitnessAzad WatchesPark City Lodging, Inc.Ludus ToursSusan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism SpeaksEDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape, UberSense and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org

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