TEAM USA MAKES THEIR MARK AT THE WORLD CUP IN LA PLAGNE, FRANCE
by Abby Slenker
LA PLAGNE, FRANCE (December 10, 2023)- Team USA made its debut appearance in the 2023/2024 IBSF World Cup this week in the French Alps with great success.
Events kicked off on December 8th with an exciting day of Skeleton races. In Women’s Skeleton, Mystique Ro slid into a second-place finish in her second World Cup race of her sliding career. Her final time after two heats was 2:05.20. Sara Roderick also represented Team USA in this event, coming in 17th with a combined time of 2:06.36.
“Mystique really broke out today on the World Cup scene! There were some tough training runs this week for her but she continued to work through the track. She always brings it at the start which immediately gives you a step up on the competition. She had her absolute two best runs of the week to pair with her starts, and I couldn’t be happier for her result today,” shared Matt Antione, Head Skeleton Coach for Team USA about Ro’s incredible performance.
Also on the 8th, Austin Florian and Dan Barefoot competed in the Men’s Skeleton event, placing 15th and 17th with times of 2:02.63 and 2:02.67 respectively.
December 9th brought another day of remarkable sliding for the USA. In Women’s Monobob, Kaysha Love had a magnificent day of sliding, placing first overall in her debut Monobob World Cup race. With a two-run time of 2:07.92, she set a new start record and track record. Elana Meyers Taylor also had a good day of sliding, placing fourth with a time of 2:08.23.
“My World Cup debut as a pilot couldn’t have been any more memorable. I'm incredibly grateful for the village that’s helped me during this challenging journey of transitioning from brakeman to pilot. So excited to keep learning and representing Team USA throughout the season!” shared Love about her historic day of racing.
Also on the 9th, Frank Del Duca and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor placed in the top six for 2-Man Bobsled, earning a fourth-place finish with their finish time of 1:59.08.
December 10th brought another jam-packed day of sliding action starting with Meyers-Taylor and Emily Renna winning bronze in 2-Woman Bobsled with a time of 2:02.46.
“I am happy about mine and Emily’s performance! The brakemen have an increased workload as I continue to get in shape coming off of pregnancy and with my increased demands off the track and they all did great to help out. Emily was a rockstar and gave me everything she had. Our equipment is running well and I’m grateful to Marc and the teams at DeBotech and Advance Mfg. for helping us be able to just focus on pushing and driving. As for me, I’m just grateful to be back in a sled and eager to continue to improve each week” shared Meyers-Taylor about her bronze-winning performance.
“It was so great to be back racing on the World Cup circuit, on a new track for me in France, and getting an opportunity to race with Elana! I’m really happy with what we have put together this weekend and am excited to see how the season progresses for us!” Renna also elaborated on their sliding execution.
Also in 2-Woman, Love and Azaria Hill placed fourth with a time of 2:02.55. In 4-Man, Frank Del Duca, Josh Williamson, Manteo Mitchell, and Darius Joseph had a one-run time of 58.80, but unfortunately did not complete their second run.
Additionally, back on American soil, the Park City Leg of the North American Cup (NAC) kicked off in Park City, UT on December 9th. Katie Uhlaender slid into an excellent first-place finish with a time of 1:40.05 and Logan Wudi placed fifth with a time of 1:42.94 in Day 1 of NAC Women’s Skeleton. In Men’s Skeleton, Bradley Nicol placed fourth with his 1:39.50 finish, Noah Park placed 10th with a 1:41.78 time, Sam Allred placed 11th with a 1:41.96 finish, Darryl Payne placed 12th with his 1:42.49 finish, Baden Park placed 13th with his 1:42.56 finish and lastly Andrew Whittier-Neises placed 17th with his 1:43.61 finish.
NAC Races will continue in Park City this week through December 13th. In the World Cup circuit, races will resume in Innsbruck, Austria on December 15th.
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton racing in the United States. Based in Lake Placid, NY, USA Bobsled/Skeleton oversees the development and training of American athletes at all levels of competition.