USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes celebrate historic season
by USA Bobsled/Skeleton
Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing and Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes celebrate historic season
Lake Placid, N.Y. (March 11, 2022) – USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) athletes collected a combined 71 medals on the World Cup, Monobob, Para Sport, Intercontinental Cup, European Cup and North American Cup tours, and claimed three medals at the 2022 Beijing Games to cap a historic season.
“We are so proud of the athletes on this team for not only their performances, but for the tenacity, determination and focus they displayed throughout the season,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “It was already a challenging season as we continued to navigate competing through a pandemic, but there were other hurdles thrown at the team constantly and our athletes stepped up each and every time. Every athlete, whether they were on the medal stand or not, contributed to the success of this team and deserves credit for making USABS one of the strongest teams in the world.”
The women’s monobob Olympic competition was shown live on NBC following Super Bowl LVI and had over 27 million viewers, which is twice as many viewers as the Oscars had last year and more than any Olympic sport. The average primetime viewership for the Olympic Games on NBC was 10.7 million.
The U.S. women shined while under the spotlight by claiming three of the six Olympic medals available in the women’s bobsled events, beating out Germany and Canada for the most medals won in Beijing. Since women’s bobsled was added to the Olympic program for Salt Lake 2002, the U.S. has won more medals than any other nation in those events (USA 9, Germany 6, Canada 5, Italy 1).
Elana Meyers Taylor led the way by winning two Olympic medals; a silver in women’s monobob and a bronze medal with Sylvia Hoffman in two-woman bobsled. Meyers Taylor set the start record for monobob for the Yanqing National Sliding Centre and was ranked first in all four race heats at the start. She and Hoffman set the start record for two-women at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre, and they were ranked first at the start in all four race heats.
With the addition of women’s monobob, Meyers Taylor is the first women’s bobsledder to win two medals in a single Olympic Games. She’s medaled in every Olympic event she’s entered, and was the only woman to win three Olympic bobsled medals for the U.S. going into these games. She’s now raised the bar to five.
Meyers Taylor is the first Black athlete to win five medals in a Winter Olympics career. She is the fifth U.S. bobsledder to win two medals in a single Olympics. The four before her are Steven Holcomb, Steve Langton, Stan Benham and Pat Martin.
Meyers Taylor was elected flag bearer for Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony, and she’s only the second person in history to be elected to carry the flag in both. The last bobsledder to have the honor of carrying the flag in Closing Ceremony was Brian Shimer, who earned the four-man bobsled bronze medal in 2002 and has since coached the U.S. team.
Kaillie Humphries became the first-ever monobob Olympic champion, and is the first woman to win Olympic gold for two different nations: Canada and USA. Humprhies set the track record for monobob for the Yanqing National Sliding Centre en route to her victory. The U.S. has won both inaugural women’s bobsled Olympic events. Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers were the first-ever Olympic champions in women’s bobsled in 2002, and Humphries was crowned the first-ever women’s monobob Olympic champion for the U.S. 20 years later.
Humphries earned the eighth gold medal in USA Bobsled Olympic history, and became the seventh driver to win gold for USA. The six before her were William Fiske 2, Francis Tyler, Steven Holcomb, Hubert Stevens, Ivan Brown, and Bakken. She is the 65th athlete to medal for USA Bobsled at a Winter Olympics.
Humphries and Kaysha Love finished seventh in the two-woman bobsled event. Competing in the Olympics was a lifelong dream for Love, but she expected it to be in gymnastics or track and field. Love tried bobsled in 2020, made the national team in the Olympic season, and quickly became one of the best push athletes in the world.
Men’s bobsled drivers Hunter Church and Frank Del Duca posted solid results in their Olympic debuts. Church finished 10th in the four-man bobsled event with Josh Williamson, Charlie Volker and Kris Horn. He was 27th with Volker in two-man. All four athletes were first-time Olympians. At 25, Church is the fourth-youngest men's bobsled pilot since World War II to represent the USA at a Winter Olympic Games.
Del Duca, Carlo Valdes, James Reed and Hakeem Abdul Saboor tied for 13th in four-man. Del Duca and Abdul Saboor were 13th in two-man. Valdes and Reed announced their retirement to the media following their final run in Beijing.
Del Duca only competed in two World Cup competitions as a pilot in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games, and he had only competed on three tracks as a pilot outside of North America before going to Beijing. Del Duca led the medal count on the North American Cup tour this season after medaling in all eight races in both the two-man and four-man bobsled events. Of the 16 medals, seven were gold.
Katie Uhlaender became a five-time Olympian in Beijing while racing in the women’s skeleton event. Uhlaender has tied the record for the most Olympic appearances by an American woman, and she is the only U.S. woman in any sliding sport to make five Olympic teams. Her first Olympics was 16 years ago in Torino. Uhlaender finished sixth in 2006, and was sixth in what she believes was her final Olympic appearance in Beijing.
Kelly Curtis was America’s first Black women’s skeleton athlete at a Winter Olympics. She and men’s skeleton teammate Andrew Blaser both finished 21st in their Olympic debuts.
North American Cup athletes contributed 39 medals to the overall total this season. Del Duca earned 16 of those medals, and men’s bobsled driver Tyler Hickey claimed six. Brittany Reinbolt and Nicole Vogt medaled in every two-woman bobsled event they entered. Reinbolt took home eight medals, and Vogt claimed five. Del Duca finished the season as the overall North American Cup winner in two-man, and finished second overall in four-man and combined points. Hickey was third in four-man points, and Reinbolt claimed the two-woman title.
Blaser, Savannah Graybill and Sara Roderick each claimed one medal in the North American Cup series. Blaser and Graybill also won silver medals on the skeleton-only Intercontinental Cup tour.
It had been seven years since an American won a European Cup race, but Mystique Ro changed that statistic by winning four medals in women’s skeleton this season. She claimed one gold, two silver and a bronze to secure second place overall in European Cup standings.
Bob Balk raced to second place overall in his first season on the Para Bobsled tour. He claimed four of the five medals collected. Steven Jacobo claimed a silver medal in one of the three races he entered.
Five medals were awarded to U.S. athletes on the World Cup tour. Humphries claimed three medals in the two-woman bobsled races. Meyers Taylor took one, but posted seven top-six finishes to claim the overall World Cup title. Church earned his second-career World Cup medal, a bronze, in Winterberg, Germany.
U.S. athletes won 16 medals in the women’s monobob World Series. Meyers Taylor and Humphries finished 1-2, respectively, overall. Meyers Taylor claimed five medals, four of them gold, and Humphries collected four medals. Six medals were earned by Reinbolt in the races held in conjunction with the North American Cup, and one was claimed by Vogt.
“This team did an outstanding job this season,” McGuire said. “We are really proud of how our athletes represented the red, white, and blue, and we are excited to see how they continue to grow and succeed as we head into the next Olympic cycle.”
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.