USA Bobsled & Skeleton selection races continue this week on the 2002 Olympic track in Park City, Utah before the national team is announced on Sunday. The schedule is as follows, with all times listed in MT:
Friday, Nov. 7
9 am: Women's and men's two-man bobsled race
6 pm: Women's and men's skeleton race
Saturday, Nov. 8
9 am: Four-man bobsled race
6 pm: Women's and men's skeleton race
Sunday, Nov. 9
9 am: National team announced
Women's bobsledders Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) and Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pa.) are a lock for two of three available pilot positions thanks to a bye awarded to both athletes following their medal performances at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) is in good position to claim the final available pilot spot on the women's team after finishing third in the Lake Placid, N.Y. selection race.
The U.S. is the only nation to medal in every women's bobsled Olympic event since the discipline made its debut at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Meyers Taylor was of a part of that winning tradition twice, having won the bronze medal in 2010 as a brakeman for Erin Pac, and then silver in Sochi. She is on track to making history again, this time in a four-man bobsled. The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation announced in October that the four-man discipline would be open to female athletes, allowing female-only, male-only and mixed gender teams to race. Meyers Taylor has elected to race in Saturday's four-man bobsled trials, and she will be a strong contender against a field of experienced pilots.
"There's been such an amazing legacy of women in the sport of bobsled, I can only hope to add to anything they've created," Meyers Taylor said. "Shauna Rohbock [2006 Olympic medalist] has been driving four-man bobsleds down Park City for years and she's helped me tremendously this week understand the differences between two-man and four-man. My crew has been awesome and the coaching staff has been so supportive of this. I'm excited to see what happens. At this moment I can't say I'm thinking too much about history. I'm a competitor and every time I see a four-man go down that hill I can feel my adrenaline start pumping ready to compete. Yes I'm excited to make history, but I really want to put on a good show; push fast, drive my sled well, and get to the bottom, high five my crew, and see where we stand."
Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries led the initiative and was the first woman to compete in the discipline after racing in the four-man bobsled Canadian Championships on Monday. Humphries finished third and is expected to race in the upcoming North American Cup series prior to the start of the World Cup tour.
Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) is the sole men's bobsled competitor to earn a bye onto the national team after earning double bronze medals at the Sochi Olympics. Pilots Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) are strong candidates for the second and third available spots on the men's team after finishing first and third, respectively, in the Lake Placid race.
The pool of push athletes will be an interesting mix of only a few returning national team athletes and a majority of rookies. The only Olympic push athletes to vie for a spot on this season's national team are 2010 Olympic gold medalist Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.).
Women's skeleton competitors Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) both have first and second place finishes from the two Lake Placid trials races, and the two veterans are expected to battle it out for the USA-1 position in Park City. There are two available World Cup spots on the women's team, and a roster of eager prospects will try to challenge O'Shea and Graybill for the chance to make the squad.
Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) earned his spot on the men's skeleton national team with his 2014 Olympic bronze medal performance. Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) finished second to Antoine in both Lake Placid races, making him a favorite for one of the two remaining men's spots. Several up-and-coming athletes have pushed their way onto the coach's radar with strong performances in the first half of trials, and the Park City finale will be a fight for the third and final men's World Cup spot.
Points will be tallied following Saturday's races and the national team will be announced on Sunday morning.
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 Estate, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America CEVA Logistics, Boomerang Carnets, Latta Kefir, 24 Hour Fitness, Azad Watches, Park City Lodging, Inc., Ludus Tours, Autism Speaks, EDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape, UberSense and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.