Friday, February 20, 2009

Bobsled, Skeleton World Championships Start Today

The Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships come to Lake Placid February 20-March 1 at the Olympic Sports Complex. The sliders will compete on the famous mile-long track down Mt. Van Hoevenberg with hopes of being crowned a 2009 World Champion.

This is the ninth time that Lake Placid has hosted the Bobsled World Championships, and the second time hosting the Skeleton World Championships, with the last ones being in 2003. The 2009 World Championships features athletes from over 20 countries competing in five disciplines: men’s and women’s skeleton, women’s bobsled, two-man bobsled and four-man bobsled. The competition consists of four runs over two days for each discipline, with the lowest combined time sled being crowned champion. This is the last major sliding event for these athletes leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

The Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships begin on Friday, Feb. 20 at 8:30 AM with the first two runs of the women’s bobsled competition. Saturday’s action begins with the final two runs of the women’s bobsled event at 8:30 AM, followed by the first two runs of the two-man competition at 1 PM. Sunday morning also starts at 8:30 AM with the last runs of the two-man bobsled. The Team Event wraps up the first week of competition at 1 PM Sunday afternoon.

The second week of the World Championships starts with the women’s skeleton competition at 9 AM Thursday, Feb. 26. The women return to the track Friday morning, Feb. 27, at 8:30 AM with their final two runs. Men’s skeleton kicks off their competition at 1 PM with the first two heats Friday afternoon. The four-man bobsled teams begin their event on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 9 AM, followed by the final two runs in the men’s skeleton competition at 1 PM. The World Championships wrap up on Sunday, March 1, at 9 AM with the final two runs of the event, in four-man bobsled.

There are two Lake Placid World Fest parties slated for Feb. 22 and Feb. 28. The party starts at 3 PM and runs until 6:30 PM at the Mirror Lake Beach. These free community festivals will have live music, food vendors, games, a kids’ area, fireworks and more! Russ Cook and Brad Hurlburt as well as Zip City provide the live music Feb. 22 while Slyde and Raisinhead take to the stage Feb. 28.

Spectators at the Bauhaus FIBT World Champions can visit the Whiteface Zone each Saturday and Sunday during the event, located trackside, and pick up a lift ticket good for Whiteface from March 1 through the end of the season for only $25!

Sandra Kiriasis of Germany won her seventh straight FIBT World Cup title for women’s bobsled. Kiriasis, the five-time defending World Champion and defending Olympic Champion, earned 1679 points to easily with the title. Teammate Cathleen Martini finished the season in second place, with 1599 points, while Shauna Rohbock of the United States took third, with 1440 points. Rohbock won silver at the 2006 Olympics, and has two bronze medals from the World Championships.

Switzerland’s Beat Hefti won his first two-man bobsled World Cup overall title this season as he amassed 1581 total points to win the Joska trophy. Hefti, an Olympic brakeman, is in his rookie season driving on the World Cup. Andre Lange of Germany finished second overall with 1501, followed by teammate Thomas Florschuetz with1453. Lange is the defending World and Olympic champion in both the two-man and four-man bobsled. He has three Olympic gold medals as well as 13 World Championships medals, including eight gold ones. The last time the World Championships were in Lake Placid, in 2003, Lange won both disciplines.

Aleksandr Zubkov of Russia captured both the FIBT World Cup Four-Man and Combined titles. This was his first four-man title since 2004. Zubkov finished in the four-man standings with 1646 total points while Janis Minnis of Latvia finished the season in second place with 1549. Lange ended the season in third with 1251, followed by U.S. driver Steve Holcomb in fourth with 1224 points.

Zubkov won the combined two-man and four-man title with 2967 points while Hefti, the 2008-2009 2-man World Cup champion, was second with 2765, followed by Lange, 2752.

Germany’s Marion Trott won this year’s FIBT Women’s Skeleton World Cup Tour title. Trott won two of the last three races of the season to clinch her first World Cup title with 1572 total points. Great Britain’s Amy Williams barely held off American slider Katie Uhlaender to claim second place overall. Williams finished with 1468 points while Uhlaender was just two points behind with 1466 for third. Uhlaender finished second in last year’s World Championships at Altenberg, Germany, and is hoping to win the gold on her home track. 2008 World Champion Anja Huber of Germany returns to Lake Placid with hopes of retaining her title.

Alexander Tretiakov of Russia completed a sweep in the final races of the season to secure his first FIBT Men’s Skeleton World Cup title. Tretiakov finished the season with 1526 total points. German teammates Florian Grassl and Frank Rommel finished in second and third places, respectively. Grassl ended the season with 1453 points while Rommel had 1436. Rommel won the bronze medal in last year’s World Championships, while Grassl finished fourth. Defending World Champion Kristan Bromley of Great Britain, who finished tenth in the standings is returning to Lake Placid with hopes of winning another World Championship title.

Tickets for the Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships are on sale now. Single day tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12) and seniors (65 and over). Guests may purchase a Silver Pass good for all three days for just $19. Tickets may be purchased at the Olympic Center Box Office in person or by phone (518) 523-3330, online, or at any area Price Chopper store. Visit the ORDA Store on Main Street in Lake Placid to pick up FREE tickets, while supplies last. Please visit www.lakeplacid2009.com for all ticket packages and more event information.

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