LAKE PLACID - Bobsled and skeleton athletes have one final competition in Lake Placid before the World Cup tour breaks for the holiday. While many teams had difficulty getting into town due to canceled and delayed flights from inclement weather throughout the nation, everyone has arrived safely and is ready to compete.
High winds and blowing snow led to the cancellation of the women's bobsled competition in Park City, Utah, and the make-up race has been scheduled for Lake Placid. The women will compete twice this week on Friday and Saturday.
Men's bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb made U.S. history by claiming the 2009 World Championship title in Lake Placid and the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. He will be a favorite for gold in both the two- and four-man competitions this weekend.
Steve Holcomb and his Night Train sled take a practice run in Lake Placid on Wednesday.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Despite a right hamstring strain, Holcomb believes he and his powerhouse team of Justin Olsen, Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz can be in the leader's box again.
The squad started the season by defending gold in Whistler, British Columbia, but the podium has been elusive for the Olympic champions since. Holcomb is ranked fourth in combined points behind Manuel Machata from Germany, Alexander Zubkov from Russia and Germany's Maximillian Arndt.
The last time hometown hero John Napier competed in Lake Placid, he stamped his future as the pilot to beat. Napier won the two-man race, his first-ever World Cup medal, and followed up with a silver medal in the four-man race. Napier has only been on ice for three weeks and is 30 pounds lighter since returning from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. He is expected to be a medal favorite on his home track.
At Olympic Sports Complex-Combined Track
in Lake Placid
Women's skeleton heat #1, 9 a.m.
Women's bobsled heat #1, 9:45 a.m
Women's skeleton heat #2, 10:30 a.m.
Women's bobsled heat #2, 11:15 a.m.
Men's skeleton, 1 p.m.
Men's 2-man bobsled, 9 a.m.
Women's bobsled, 1 p.m.
Men's 4-man bobsled
$8 adults, $6 junior/children (6-12); senior $6
Free admission with the donation of one non-perishable food item per person to benefit the Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry.
Ethan Albrecht-Carrie will compete in his third career World Cup event on the track he learned to drive on, and will aim for a top 10 result.
Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming were on the line ready to start at the women's bobsled race last week in Park City before the race was canceled. The 2006 Olympic silver medalists announced that they plan to retire at the conclusion of the season and are eager to collect a medal at each stop on their final tour.
Bree Schaaf started her path toward qualifying for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by winning the 2009 national championships in Lake Placid. Schaaf has finished sixth in both events this season, and hopes to break into the top three on her home track. Rohbock and Schaaf's teams are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, behind Sandra Kiriasis and Cathleen Martini of Germany and Canadian Kaillie Humphries.
Elana Meyers was named the USA III pilot after her 2010 Olympic bronze medal teammate Erin Pac announced her retirement in November. Meyers earned her qualification after competing in the Winterberg, Germany Europa Cup, and may surprise the world by threatening for medal position on her home track. Meyers will race in the Lake Placid women's bobsled event on Saturday.
Jazmine Fenlator was scheduled to make her World Cup debut last weekend in Park City, and will get her chance to compete in the women's bobsled make-up race on Friday.
The U.S. men's skeleton squad has had a history of success on the Lake Placid track, and this year's team is no exception. Matt Antoine, John Daly and Eric Bernotas have potential to sweep the podium on Friday. The team will continue to test equipment throughout the season to gain valuable knowledge towards building the fastest equipment for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Antoine currently leads the team in sixth position, while Daly is ranked 11th and Bernotas is in 15th.
In their World Cup debut seasons, Annie O'Shea and Kimber Gabryszak will aim for top ten performances. The young team has consistently climbed in rank each week, and enters the Lake Placid event ranked 13th and 15th, respectively.