Uhlaender eighth at halfway point of women’s skeleton Olympic competition; Curtis 18th in Olympic debut
by USA Bobsled/Skeleton
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Uhlaender eighth at halfway point of women’s skeleton Olympic competition;
Curtis 18th in Olympic debut
Katie Uhlaender during an official training run in Yanquing
Photo credit: Getty Images
YANQING, China (February 11, 2022) – Five-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) is in eighth place at the halfway point of the women’s skeleton race at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Kelly Curtis (Princeton, N.J.) is tied for 18th in her Olympic debut.
“Actually I feel the best I’ve ever felt in an Olympics,” Uhlaender said. “I feel the most prepared mentally.”
Uhlaender experimented with equipment throughout official training, and said she realized last night what she wanted to race on. Unfortunately, the runners she wanted weren’t runners she had, but they were runners that her teammate, U.S. men’s skeleton athlete Andrew Blaser, had.
“Surprisingly Blaser let me borrow his runners for today, and he’s going to race on them tonight,” Uhlaender said. “It’s definitely shown that despite the troubles and chaos of getting here, the spirit is still strong for the Games. I wish it had kicked in a little sooner, but it doesn’t matter because when it gets here, you take it. I hope to carry that momentum into tomorrow.”
Uhlaender is just three-tenths of a second from the medals after the first two runs. She was in ninth place after a first run of 1:02.41, and gained a spot with a second run time of 1:02.46. The five-time Olympian is no stranger to performing under pressure. She was the fastest competitor in the third split time of the first heat, and if Uhlaender pieces it together tomorrow, she’ll be a threat for the medals.
“At national championships one year I went into day two a half second back, almost six-tenths, and I won,” Uhlaender said. “And this is a track where I think anything can happen. It’s going to be a good race. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. I would have liked to have been a little bit closer. But I think I closed the gap a bit and I hope I can continue to do that.”
Curtis, a member of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program, made history today as the first U.S. Black athlete, male or female, to compete in the sport of skeleton at the Olympic Winter Games. She posted downtimes of 1:02.94 and 1:03.05 to tie Elena Nikitina of the Russian Olympic Committee for 18th position with a combined time of 2:05.99.
“I have some things to clean up for day two,” Curtis said. “I had to clean up a couple of things from the first run into the second run, and then some more problems arose, so I’m going back, talking with my coaches and seeing what we can put together for day two.”
Curtis said the experience is “surreal” to be competing in the Olympics, especially since she had first seen the sport just eight years ago.
“Eight years ago I was in graduate school on a bicycle (working out) and watching the Sochi Olympics, just thinking like ‘wow that looks crazy,’” Curtis said. “I was interested in the sport but that was the first time I had ever seen it.”
Jacyln Narracott from Australia posted the second and third fastest downtimes for a total of 2:04.34 to lead the field by 0.21 seconds going into the final runs tomorrow. Her first career World Cup medal was gold in the season finale on the all-natural track in St. Moritz, Switzerland last month. If she medals tomorrow, she’ll be the 18th Australian athlete in history to earn a medal at a Winter Olympics.
Germany’s Hannah Neise is currently second with a 2:04.55. Niese has never medaled in a World Cup race, but she was second in the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation sanctioned race in Yanqing in October 2021. Tina Hermann, also from Germany, is on the heels of her teammate in third with a 2:04.57.
The men’s competition wraps up tonight with the third and fourth heats at 8:20 p.m. local time. The women’s race continues tomorrow and will also start at 8:20 p.m.
For the first time, the 2022 Winter Olympic Games can be viewed Live on NBC and streamed on Peacock Premium. The games can be viewed with a cable subscription on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app will live stream a Winter Olympics record 2,100+ hours of live event competition during the Beijing Olympics. For more information on how to view, please go to NBCOlympics.com
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Results (heats 1 & 2)
1. Jaclyn Narracott (AUS) 2:04.34 (1:02.05, 1:02.29);
2. Hannah Neise (GER) 2:04.55 (1:02.36, 1:02.19);
3. Tina Hermann (GER) 2:04.57 (1:02.28, 1:02.29);
8. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 2:04.87 (1:02.41, 1:02.46);
T-18. Kelly Curtis (USA) 2:05.00 (1:02.94, 1:03.05)
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.