LAKE PLACID - The Olympic village will once again host the bobsled and skeleton FIBT World Championships this week and next. Athletes from more than 20 nations are expected to vie for the crown at Mount Van Hoevenberg, as the U.S. team hopes to gain momentum toward the 2014 Winter Olympic Games by medaling on their home track.
"The World Championships are the pinnacle event of the season and a great gauge for our teams leading into the Olympic Games," said Scott Novack, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation High Performance Director. "Our athletes and coaches look forward to the opportunity to compete against the world's best, and hope to continue the successful legacy we have on this track."
The two-time Olympic village has staged eight World Championship races. The most recent was in 2009 when Steven Holcomb of Park City, Utah piloted his four-man bobsled to victory to claim the first title for the men since 1959. Shauna Rohbock of Park City, Utah earned silver that same year to continue a history of success for the women's program.
While enjoying a sip of coffee, head United States women’s bobsled coach Todd Hays watches Monaco’s two-man sled, piloted by Patrice Servelle, race through curve 14 at Mount Van Hoevenberg during a practice run on Wednesday. The top sledders from around the globe are gathering in Lake Placid for the 2012 FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships, which kick off Friday with the opening two runs of women’s bobsled.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
The selection committee met Sunday to decide teams competing in World Championships. Holcomb will team with Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) in the USA-1 BMW Night Train sled. Langton was selected to compete with Holcomb in the Under Armour two-man sled.
John Napier of Lake Placid will compete with Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) and either Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) or Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.) in his National Guard four-man sled, and Fogt will be Napier's brakeman in the Alamo two-man sled.
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) earned his spot as pilot of USA-3. The rookie driver will race with Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) in two-man, and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas), Robinson and either Beckom or Berkeley in four-man. Beckom and Berkeley were scheduled to race off on Wednesday to determine who will compete with USA-2 or USA-3.
The U.S. will field three sleds in the women's bobsled competition. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) will team with Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) in the KOA sled as USA-1, while Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) will partner in the Sliding for Hope sled as USA-2.
Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) will compete with Ingrid Marcum (Elmhurst, Ill.) in the USA-3 FDNY sled to complete the roster.
Women's skeleton athletes Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) both hold records on the Lake Placid track and will be threats for the podium.
Matt Antoine and John Daly (Smithtown) are expected to set the pace in the men's skeleton event.
Watch live streaming of all events on www.FIBT.com. NBC Universal Sports will also broadcast events on the following dates: Women's bobsled at 10 p.m. on Feb. 18, men's two-man bobsled at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19, team competition at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, women's skeleton at 6 p.m. on Feb. 24, men's skeleton at 10 p.m. on Feb. 25 and men's four-man bobsled at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25.