After a busy first half to the season in Germany, the USA Bobsled & Skeleton team is eager to kick off the New Year with World Cup racing on three North American tracks this month. Competition begins on home ice at Mount Van Hoevenburg in Lake Placid, N.Y. with a two-day event from Jan. 8-9.
The detailed Lake Placid World Cup schedule is outlined below, with race times listed in EST:
Friday, Jan. 8:
8:30 a.m.: Women's skeleton
12 p.m.: Women's bobsled
1 p.m.: Men's two-man bobsled
Saturday, Jan. 9:
9 a.m.: Four-person bobsled
2 p.m.: Men's skeleton
Competitions from Lake Placid are scheduled to air on Universal HD and live on NBC Sports Live Extra. Please check local listings to find the Universal HD channel in your area and for updated air times.
Olympic bronze medalist Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.) will lead Team USA in the men's skeleton race. The Lake Placid track favors Antoine's sliding style, and Antoine won his first-ever World Cup race in Lake Placid three years ago. Kyle Brown (Concord, N.H.) spent the first half of the season on the Intercontinental Cup tour and earned his chance to race in the World Cup with two medal performances. Antoine is currently ranked 11th in World Cup standings, just eight points from the top-10, and Brown is ranked sixth in Intercontinental Cup points.
Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Kendall Wesenberg (Modesto, Calif.) will represent the USA in the women's skeleton competition. O'Shea's results have been steadily improving all season and she is currently ranked 11th on the World Cup tour. Wesenberg made her World Cup debut last month after a breakthrough season last year, and she is currently ranked 16th.
Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pa.) medaled in each of the three World Cup races held in Germany during the first half of the season, including a victory in Winterberg, and is currently ranked second in World Cup points. Greubel Poser is a mere 25 points behind Canada's reigning Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries. Greubel Poser and world champion push athlete Cherrelle Garrett
(Hayward, Calif.) are teamed up in the Under Armour wrapped BMW-made sled, and the pair is undoubtedly the favorite for gold.
Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) has been cleared to slide and compete by a neurologist at the Cerebrum Health Center in Atlanta, Ga. following her rehabilitation over the last three weeks, although she won't be racing in Lake Placid. Meyers Taylor is eager to get back into the driver's seat and has elected to begin sliding Jan. 11th on the European Cup circuit in Igls, Austria, the site of the 2016 World Championships. Sliding on the European Cup will offer Meyers Taylor the opportunity to acclimate to the time zone on forgiving tracks before rejoining the World Cup in Switzerland following the North American portion of the tour.
Nicole Vogt (Dallas, Texas) earned her spot on the national team by finishing third in trials and she'll make her World Cup debut on Friday alongside rookie Kristen Hurley (Columbia, Conn.). While Meyers Taylor eases back into competition on the European Cup, Brittany Reinbolt (Searcy, Ark.) will step in as the third pilot for the U.S. women with push athlete Bonnie Kilis (Bridgeport, Conn.) in the sled featuring Project Play. Reinbolt and Vogt have collectively earned three medals on the North American Cup during the first half and are currently ranked second and third, respectively, on the tour.
In men's bobsled, three-time Olympic medalist Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) will team with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.) in the BMW sled for Friday's two-man race, and the duo will be joined by Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) in the Night Train 2 on Saturday for the four-person race. Holcomb was slowed down by a quadriceps injury that he sustained first half, but the veteran has a history of success on the North American tracks and is expected to gain momentum headed into the second half.
Holcomb ended a 50-year medal drought for the U.S. when he won the four-man title at the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid, and he continued his history making in Lake Placid's 2012 World Championships by winning the two-man and four-man titles along with contributing to the mixed team win. Holcomb will be a favorite for the medals in both disciplines this weekend.
Two-time Olympian Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) will team with Nathan Gilsleider (Claremore, Okla.) in the KOA branded BMW-made two-man sled on Friday, and he'll be joined by Casey Wickline (Greenville, S.C.), James Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) in the four-person race.
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) rejoins the World Cup circuit in Lake Placid. Bascue will race with Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (Powhatan, Va.) in the BMW two-man sled dedicated to It's On Us and his four-person crew will be Abdul-Saboor, David Cremin (Annondale, Va.) and Gilsleider.
Cunningham currently leads Team USA in men's bobsled World Cup combined two and four-man standings. The two-time Olympian is ranked 12th, followed by Holcomb in 14th. Bascue spent the first half of the season on the North American tour and is ranked fourth in those combined standings.
Intercontinental Cup athletes head to Igls, Austria for races on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8. Koenigssee, Germany will mark the first stop of 2016 for the skeleton European Cup tour with sliding on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15. Para World Cup racing will continue on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 in St. Moritz, Switzerland and the North American Cup will be on hiatus until Feb. 26. With qualification races completed, the Youth Olympic Games will commence on Feb. 10 in Lillehammer and run through Feb. 21.
Visit www.usabs.com for updates and results from the various tours. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250. Get updates on the team by following USA Bobsled & Skeleton on Facebook, USBSF on Twitter and USABS on Instagram.
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, Park City Lodging, Inc., Classroom Champions, Aspen Institute's Project Play, EDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape, UberSense, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Protostar, Machintek and deBotech, Carpenter and PVS International. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.