USA claims three medals in para-bob World Cup
LAKE PLACID — The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Para Sport World Cup opened up its season with a two-day para-bobsleigh event at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid on Monday.
The event showcased some of the best para-bobsledders in the world representing seven different nations.
The United States, led by Robert “Bob” Balk, were able to capture three medals, which included a gold, silver and bronze medal, in the two-day racing event.
On the first day of the World Cup race, Balk earned his first medal — a gold medal. Balk, 55, finished the race with a total time of two minutes and 0.7 seconds.
Balk said he was proud of his performance.
“This is my first year,” Balk said. “I just started sliding and I’ve only been sliding for a year. I’ve only slid here (at Mount Van Hoevenberg).”
In Balk’s first heat, he came flying down the track. He recorded a time of 1:00.21, which was the fastest heat time in the entire event.
Balk said he felt scared going down the track.
“It’s really fast and everything comes at you really fast,” Balk said. “If you don’t think, you can crash and I’ve crashed here a lot of times.”
Balk followed up his first heat by tying for the fastest second heat with Great Britain’s Corie Mapp with a time of 1:00.49.
Mapp, who finished the first heat with the second-fastest time earned a silver medal on Monday. He finished with a total time of 2:01.03.
Switzerland’s Christopher Stewart was the bronze medalist with a total time of 2:01.12. Stewart was closely behind Mapp’s times in both heats but ultimately finished 0.09 seconds shy of Mapp’s time.
American bobsledders Steven Jacobo (2:02.23) and Guillermo “Will” Castillo (2:02.28) finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
On the second day of racing, a new champion was crowned.
Spain’s Israel Blanco earned his first World Cup victory in Tuesday’s race with a total time of 2:01.16.
After finishing the first heat with the second-fastest time, Blanco managed to secure the victory by finishing with the fastest time in the second heat.
Blanco, who had finished Monday’s race in fourth place, upped his total time by 0.70 seconds to win the gold medal.
The United States’ Jacobo had a better second day of racing as well. He finished with a total time of 2:01.42 to earn the silver medal.
Following closely behind Jacobo was his teammate Balk. Balk finished the second race with a time of 2:01.47 to earn the bronze medal.
The third American slider, Castillo, finished the second race in sixth place.
The para-bobsleigh World Cup continues its season with the next race slated to take place in Park City, Utah on Dec. 5 to 6.