Meyers Taylor races to fifth-straight podium finish
IGLS, Austria — Elana Meyers Taylor teamed with Kehri Jones for her fifth consecutive medal this season after the duo finished second in Saturday’s women’s bobsled World Cup in Igls.
“It feels good to be in the medals again,” Meyers Taylor said. “We have a deep field of push athletes and it’s nice knowing that we can be in the medals week to week with any of them. I hurt my back earlier this week, so having Kehri help push me to the second fastest push times today when I’m a little banged up is super impressive. It’s going to be a difficult decision for the selection committee next month because every push athlete on this team is capable of medaling, but I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build towards Korea.”
Meyers Taylor has medaled in all five World Cup races this season with three different push athletes, claiming three silvers, including Saturday’s performance, and two bronze medals. This is the second medal for Meyers Taylor with Jones in the back seat this season. The pair claimed bronze together in Whistler, Canada.
Meyers Taylor and Jones pushed the BMW sled off the start block in 5.47 seconds for a run of 53.42 seconds to place themselves in silver medal position after the first heat. The Americans had reigning Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada and Germany’s Mariama Jamanka tied for third just 0.05 seconds behind them, making the second heat a battle down to the hundredths for the medals.
Despite the close race for the medals, Meyers Taylor was zoned in on moving up.
“It’s always a close race when you’re up against someone like Kaillie,” said Meyers Taylor, who trains alongside Humphries during the offseason. “You can’t afford to make a mistake. It helps push me, but I’m not looking at who is behind me in the race, I’m looking ahead. If I’m not sitting in the lead, I’m focused on who I need to take down to win.”
Meyers Taylor and Jones responded in heat two with a start time of 5.42 seconds en route to a run of 53.22 to secure the silver medal with a total time of 1:46.64.
German Stephanie Schneider and her brakeman Annika Drazek posted the best start times of each heat, 5.41 and 5.38 seconds, respectively, en route to a 1:46.28 combined downtime and Schneider’s second straight gold medal. Meyers Taylor and Jones edged bronze medalists Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz by 0.01 seconds.
Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs threaded together consistent downtimes of 53.61 and 53.62 in their BMW sled in the first and second heats, respectively, for sixth place. The result is Greubel Poser’s second consecutive sixth place finish. The 2014 Olympic bronze medalist has two World Cup medals in the 2017-2018 season so far, including gold with Gibbs in the Park City, Utah leg of the tour. The duo clocked identical start times of 5.52, the fifth and sixth fastest of each heat.
Brittany Reinbolt teamed with 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Aja Evans for eighth place with a total time of 1:47.48. Reinbolt and Evans were seventh after a first run time of 53.72 seconds, just 0.09 seconds from teammates Greubel Poser and Gibbs, but fell back in run two after a time of 53.76. Reinbolt and Evans powered the BMW sled off the block for start times of 5.50 and 5.52 seconds.
IGLS, Austria — Codie Bascue teamed with Evan Weinstock, Steve Langton and Sam McGuffie for 11th place in the Igls four-man bobsled World Cup this morning, finishing just 0.04 seconds from the top-10.
The 23-year-old Bascue, of Whitehall, first raced on the World Cup circuit during the 2014-2015 season, and Saturday was only his 22nd four-man race on the elite tour. He raced with a new crew combination today, which included some of the country’s fastest push athletes in Weinstock, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Langton and McGuffie.
“I knew coming into the race with the crew I had that we would have one of the top pushes,” Bascue said.
Team Bascue powered the Night Train 2 off the block in 4.99 seconds, matching Germany’s Francesco Friedrich’s crew for the fastest push time. The sled broke into a skid midway down the track, scrubbing speed from the American crew’s time and resulting in a run of 51.65 seconds, just 12th best of the heat.
“I wish I could have put that first run together, there are a lot of what ifs right now,” Bascue said. “We had just two runs together as a crew before the race, and it’s hard to develop a cohesive push and riding position in that amount of time. If we stick together as a crew, we can work on improving that and we have potential to post even better start times, which says a lot about these guys.”
Bascue, Weinstock, Langton and McGuffie were the third fastest team off the start in heat two with a push time of 5.01 seconds, and Bascue bettered their finish time to 51.57 seconds. Team Bascue narrowly missed the top-10 by 0.04 seconds, finishing 11th with a combined time of 1:43.22.
Germany’s Johannes Lochner took his third win of the season with Marc Rademacher, Joshua Bluhm and Christian Rasp after clocking a total time of 1:42.45. Canadians Justin Kripps, Alex Kopacz, Jesse Lumsden and Oluseyi Smith rallied for silver in 1:42.60, while a second German sled of Friedrich, Florian Bauer, Marin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis claimed bronze in 1:42.65.
Justin Olsen also teamed with a new push crew combination today, racing with Nate Weber, Carlo Valdes and Chris Fogt for 19th place after clocking a two-run total time of 1:43.44. Olsen, an Olympic gold medal push athlete who began driving just three years ago, navigated the team to the finish in 51.73 and 51.71 seconds after the crew powered him to starts of 5.05 and 5.06 seconds, respectively.
Two-time Olympian Nick Cunningham and his crew of Chris Kinney, Hakeem Abdul-Saboor and Sam Michener powered their sled off the blocks to a 5.06-second start, but struggled to find speed on their way down the track despite a clean run. The crew crossed the finish line in 51.88 seconds. After a strong fifth place result in yesterday’s two-man race, team Cunningham ended up in 23rd, missing the second heat in a tightly contested race by just 0.05 seconds.
Elana Meyers Taylor, racing in her first four-man World Cup of the season, teamed with rookie Josh Williamson, Brent Fogt and her husband, Nic Taylor to finish 25th in 52.27 seconds. Meyers Taylor took her fifth consecutive medal in the women’s bobsled race yesterday, a silver, and is the only women’s pilot to race in four-man this season.
The World Cup circuit will now pause for a holiday break before picking back up in Altenberg, Germany after the New Year. Bascue said the team is looking forward to the time off.
“All of could keep racing over and over again, we love what we do, but the mental and physical break midway through the season is really nice to have,” Bascue said. “While we want to keep going, it will be nice to spend some time at home before making the last push towards Korea.”