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Blowing snow, wind halt women’s bobsled event

December 11, 2010
By LYNN DeBRUIN, AP Sports Writer

PARK CITY, Utah - Shauna Rohbock and dozens of family and friends were disappointed Friday when Rohbock's final World Cup bobsled race on her home course at Olympic Park had to be rescheduled because of blizzard-like conditions.

On the flip side, she'll have an extra week to rehab a quadriceps injury before racing twice in Lake Placid, where Friday's race will be made up next weekend.

"It's sad to cancel a race at home," said Rohbock, who plans to retire after the 2010-11 season. "Technically it is better for me. I don't love the track (in Lake Placid), but my sled does."

Race jury president Georg Werth announced the decision to call off the race after the timing system failed because of blowing snow. Coaches said next Friday was a likely day to reschedule the race because it is an off-day in Lake Placid.

"It wasn't as much about the snow as it was wind," said U.S. women's coach Dave Owens. "The wind was blowing snow into the timing eyes and we had sleds going down with no timing."

The men's two-man bobsled was still scheduled for Friday night, pending an improvement in the weather.

Six sleds made it down the course before the timers failed when Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson of England were on the track. Officials cleaned out the timers, but the continued high winds forced a halt to the racing.

Rohbock and Valerie Fleming, the top Americans, were on deck when the racing was stopped.

Owens said safety became an issue.

"A lot of forerunners said the snow was sticking to their visors and they couldn't see," Rohbock said. "They were sweeping between (racers), but it didn't help. It blew the snow right back in the grooves. It was a hard call for the jury to make."

Rohbock and Fleming won silver in the Turin Olympics. Rohbock finished sixth at the 2010 Vancouver Games without Fleming, who failed to qualify because of a hamstring injury.

They were back together this year, and Rohbock said it is her last.

"My body is definitely ready to retire," said Rohbock, who has been racing for 12 years and was a two-sport athlete in college before that. "I beat my body up."

She wants to stay involved with the sport, hopefully through coaching.

For now, the goal is to win the overall World Cup gold.



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