Posts Tagged ‘Bobsled – Luge – Skeleton’

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships Weekend

Lake Placid is once again hosting the bobsled and skeleton World Championships through February 26. Athletes from more than 20 nations are vying for the crown at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and the U.S. team hopes to gain momentum towards the 2014 Winter Olympic Games by medaling on their home track. Lake Placid’s own John Napier will compete in the four-man bobsled.

“The World Championships are the pinnacle event of the season and a great gauge for our teams leading into the Olympic Games,” said Scott Novack, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation High Performance Director.

The two-time Olympic village has staged eight World Championship races. The most recent was in 2009 when Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) piloted his four-man bobsled to victory to claim the first title for the men since 1959, and Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) earned silver to continue a history of success for the women’s program.

Competition begins with the first two heats of women’s bobsled at 9:30 am on Friday, Feb. 17. Men’s two-man begins at 9 am on Feb. 18, followed by the medal deciding heats of women’s bobsled at 5 pm. Men’s two-man finals will be held at 9 am on Feb. 19, and a team competition will also take place at 1:30 pm.

Racing will continue on Feb. 23 with the first two heats of women’s skeleton at 9:30 am, and the final heats will take place the following morning at 9:45 am. Men’s skeleton athletes take to the ice at 5 pm on Feb. 24 and wrap up at 5 pm on Feb. 25. Men’s four-man bobsled competition will take place at 9 am on Feb. 25, and will conclude the event with the final two heats at 9 am on Feb. 26.

Tickets for the World Championships can purchased by online, calling 518-523-3330, or at the gate day of the event.

The selection committee met yesterday to decide teams competing in World Championships. Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) will compete in the USA-1 sled. Langton was selected to compete with Holcomb in the two-man sled.

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will compete with Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) and either Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) or Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.) in the four-man sled, and Fogt will be Napier’s brakeman in the two-man sled.

Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) will pilot USA-3. The rookie driver will race with Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) in two-man, and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas), Robinson and either Beckom or Berkeley in four-man. Beckom and Berkeley will race off on Wednesday to determine if they will compete with USA-2 or USA-3 next weekend.

The U.S. will field three sleds in the women’s bobsled competition. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) will team with Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) in the KOA sled as USA-1, while Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) will partner in the Sliding for Hope sled as USA-2. Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) will compete with Ingrid Marcum (Elmhurst, Ill.) in the USA-3 FDNY sled to complete the roster.

Women’s skeleton athletes Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) both hold records on the Lake Placid track and will be threats for the podium. Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) are expected to set the pace in the men’s skeleton event.

Watch live streaming of all events on www.FIBT.com, or take the action with you by downloading the Digotel Live+ for iOS iPhone app. NBC Universal Sports will also broadcast events on the following dates, with times listed in EST: Women’s bobsled at 10 pm on Feb. 18th, men’s two-man bobsled at 6 pm on Feb. 19th, team competition at 5:30 pm on Feb. 23rd, women’s skeleton at 6 pm on Feb. 24th, men’s skeleton at 10 pm on Feb. 25th and men’s four-man bobsled at 6 pm on Feb. 25th.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adirondack Winter Athletes Update

This winter the Almanack has been reporting the results and standing of our local winter sports athletes. The big news this week is Saranac Lake’s Chris Mazdzer and the the U.S. luge team, which won a silver medal in the FIL World Cup team relay in Winterberg, Germany.

You can find all our winter sports coverage here, and World Cup coverage here.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): In Kitzbuehel, Austria, Weibrecht skied to a 42nd place finish in the FIS World Cup downhill. The Super-G was cancelled because of weather. Beismeyer raced in last week’s Europa Cup stop in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and did not finish Wednesday’s, Jan. 18, giant slalom event. The reigning Nor-Am champion also failed to finish Monday’s giant slalom race in Zell a. See, Austria.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Antholz-Anterselva, Italy hosted last week’s IBU World Cup tour stop. In Sunday’s team relay event, Baily and Burke skied with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) and finished 10th. In Friday’s 10 km sprint, Burke was 12th, while Bailey was 36th. Burke also finished 20th in Sunday’s 15 km mass start event, while Bailey was 21st. Cook posted a 74th place result in Thursday’s 7.5 km sprint, before teaming up with Sara Studebacker (Boise, Idaho), Tracy Barnes (Durango, Colo.) and Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) for a 13th place finish in Saturday’s 4×6 km team relay.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup tour visited St. Moritz, Switzerland. Napier droved his two-man sled to a 16th place result, Saturday, and his four-man sled to a 12th place finish, Sunday.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): Mazdzer helped the U.S. luge team to a silver medal in the FIL World Cup team relay in Winterberg, Germany. The 2010 Olympian was 29th in Saturday’s men’s singles race. Sweeney was 13th in the women’s singles race in Winterberg.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong did not compete last weekend and this weekend’s event in Zakopane, Poland has been cancelled because of weather. He is scheduled to compete Feb. 3-5 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): In Sapporo, Japan, Frenette competed in three events, one on the k90 and two others off the k120. The 2010 Olympian dealt with difficult wind conditions to finish 26th in the k90 jump and recorded 26th and 25th place results off the k120.

Photo: Saranac Lake’s Chris Mazdzer, courtesy USA Luge.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

The second weekend of the New Year (January 6-9) saw some pretty strong results from area athletes competing internationally.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): Weibrecht spent some time home, in Lake Placid, and returns to the World Cup circuit this weekend. Beisemeyer raced in Saturday’s FIS World Cup giant slalom, held in Adelboden, Switzerland and did not finish.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): The IBU World Cup tour visited Oberhof, Germany over the weekend. In Saturday’s 10 km sprint, Burke was 36th, while Bailey finished the race in 45th position. The two, along with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), helped the U.S. squad to an 11th place showing in Thursday’s, Jan. 5, 4×7.5 km relay. The weekend wrapped up with the 15 km race… Bailey was 11th and Burke did not race. Cook did not race.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): Heavy snow delayed the start of Saturday’s FIBT World Cup two-man bobsled race for two hours and poor visibility forced officials to cancel the race’s second run. Napier finished 17th in the one-heat race. In Sunday’s four-man race, Napier drove his sled to a 16th place result.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): Mazdzer made his FIL World Cup debut Friday in Koenigssee, Germany. The 2010 Olympian finished 21st in the men’s singles race. He helped USA Luge to a fifth place showing in the team relay. Sweeney did not qualify for the women’s singles race after suffering a spill in Nations Cup qualifying.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong competed in Oberstdorf, Germany where he helped anchor Team USA to a fifth place finish in Saturday’s HS137/4×5 km team competition. In Sunday’s FIS Nordic Combined World Cup individual event, the reigning Olympic champion placed 14th.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette did not compete in last weekend’s FIS Continental Cup event in Kranj, Slovenia. That event was canceled.

Photo: John Napier.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

The holidays are over and it’s back to racing for several Lake Placid – Saranac Lake area athletes. You can find all the Adirondack Almanack‘s winter sports coverage here.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): Weibrecht did race during the holiday period. He participated in the FIS alpine World Cup downhill stop, Dec. 19, in Bormio, Italy, where he finished 49th. Beisemeyer is now back on the Nor-Am tour.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): The IBU World Cup tour is scheduled to resume Friday, Jan. 6, in Forni Avoltri, Italy. Bailey is ranked ninth in the overall Cup chase, while Burke is 37th. Meanwhile, Cook competed in Obertilliach, Austria, Dec. 14-17. She was 60th in the 7.5 km sprint and did not complete the 10 km pursuit. Cook did help anchor the U.S. squad to a 14th place finish in the mixed team relay.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series starts its second half this weekend in Altenberg, Germany. Napier is 15th in the overall two-man rankings and 12th in the chase for the four-man crown.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): The holiday break is over for the International Luge Federation’s World Cup athletes. Racing resumes this weekend in Koenigssee, Germany for Mazdzer and Sweeney, the sister of 18 year old 2010 Olympian Megan Sweeney (they grew up in of Suffield, Connecticut, but their father is from Saranac Lake). Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, returns to the tour after spending the first half of the season in Lake Placid testing equipment. Sweeney opened the season winning two junior World Cup crowns before joining the senior squad in Calgary, Canada.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong and Ryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) teamed up to compete in the FIS World Cup Nordic combined team sprint, Friday, Dec. 16. The two combined to finish sixth in the HS 109/2×7.5 km event. This weekend’s World Cup stop in Schonach, Germany has been canceled. The tour’s next event is the following weekend in Chaux Neuve, France.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette made is FIS Continental Cup debut, Dec. 22-28, in Engelberg, Switzerland. He was 69th in Tuesday’s event and 52nd Wednesday. He’s getting ready to jump again, Jan. 7-8, in Kranj, Slovenia.

Photo: Emily Sweeney watches the action after her second run at Calgary. Courtesy USA Luge.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

For a lot of area athletes, the first half of their international competition schedules are wrapping up. Some will be returning home for some much needed rest and prepare for the second half of their competition tours. Below are some of the results from this past weekend.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series visited Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy, where Weibrecht skied to a 20th place finish in Friday’s, Dec. 16, men’s Super G. Beisemeyer did not finish the race. High winds forced officials to cancel Saturday’s, Dec. 17, 50th running of the famed Saslong Classic downhill.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Hochfilzen, Austria hosted the IBU biathlon World Cup’s third stop of the season. Bailey skied to a 21st place result in Thursday’s, Dec. 15, 10 km event, while Burke was 63rd. Bailey was 25th in Saturday’s 12.5 km pursuit, while Burke did not race. Burke and Cook teamed up with Sara Studebaker (Boise, Idaho) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) in Sunday’s mixed relay and finished 14th. Cook also made her World Cup debut, finishing 60th in Friday’s 7.5 km race and she did not complete Saturday’s 10 km pursuit.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The third stop of the FIBT World Cup bobsled series took the world’s top sliders to Winterberg, Germany where they battled high winds and blowing snow throughout the weekend. Napier drove his two-man sled to a 14th place finish, Saturday, and a 13th place showing in Sunday’s, Dec. 18, four-man event.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series paid a visit to Seefeld, Austria. Partnering with Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Demong finished sixth in Friday’s team sprint event. Saturday, Demong did not qualify out of the jumping round.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette did not jump this weekend. He’s still awaiting his 2011-’12 season debut.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update on Local World Cup Winter Athletes

The holidays are almost here and local world-class athletes were trying to pick up more valuable World Cup points, last weekend, Dec. 9-11, before the break.

Alpine Skiing:

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series stop in Val d Isere, France was cancelled due to a lack of snow. Weibrecht, Beisemeyer and the rest of the U.S. alpine squad began racing in Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy today, Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Biathlon:

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Hochfilzen, Austria played host to last weekend’s IBU biathlon World Cup stop. In Friday’s 10 km sprint, Bailey posted a 14th place result, while Burke was 42nd. During Saturday’s pursuit, Bailey was 17th, while Burke was 47th. Bailey is currently ranked seventh in the series standings. The race weekend wrapped up with the team relay, and Bailey and Burke, along with Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), finished ninth. Meanwhile, Cook made her international debut this season, competing in the IBU Cup event, held in Ridnaun, Italy. She was 59th in Saturday’s 15 km individual race and 36th in Sunday’s 7.5 km sprint.

Bobsled:

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series stopped in LaPlagne, France over the weekend. Napier drove his two-man sled to an 11th place finish, Saturday, and a 13th place result during Sunday’s four-man event.

Nordic Combined:

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series was in Ramsau, Austria. Demong posted his best World Cup result, 11th, since the Olympic season. He was 14th after the jump and started eighth in the cross country ski.

Ski Jumping:

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette was scheduled to make his FIS Cup debut in Garmisch P., Germany, but that event was cancelled due to weather.

Photo: Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy (Photo provided).


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Local Winter Atheletes World Cup Results

It was a successful World Cup week for several Lake Placid area athletes. Many posted their first top-10s of the season and two raced to career-best World Cup finishes.

Alpine Skiing
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): The FIS alpine World Cup series stopped in Beaver Creek, Colo. last weekend, Dec. 2-5. Weibrecht skied to a World Cup career-best 10th in Saturday’s Super G. The finish matched his career-best World Cup downhill result, also in Beaver Creek, in 2007. In Friday’s downhill race, Weibrecht was 32nd. Beisemeyer did not finish Sunday’s giant slalom race.

Biathlon
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.): The IBU Biathlon World Cup series opened in Oestersund, Sweden. In Wednesday’s, Nov. 30, men’s 20 km race, Bailey skied to a ninth place result, while Burke was 58th. Bailey and Burke both had strong results in Friday’s, Dec. 2, 10 km sprint and Sunday’s 12.5 km pursuit. Bailey finished a career-high fifth Friday, while Burke was 12th. Burke’s best finish from the weekend came on Sunday when he completed the pursuit ninth, while Bailey posted a 13th place result.

Bobsled
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series got underway over the weekend, when the world’s top sliders visited the 1976 Olympic track in Igls, Austria. Napier piloted his sled to an 18th place finish in Saturday’s two-man race and followed up that result with a 12th place showing in Sunday’s four-man event.

Nordic Combined
Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): The FIS World Cup Nordic combined series visited Lillehammer, Norway. Demong was 25th Saturday, but was disqualified at Sunday’s event. He will compete next weekend, Dec. 10-11, Ramsau, Austria.

Elsewhere, ski jumper Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and biathlete Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) did not compete last weekend. Frenette is gearing up for his first international competition this season, a FIS Cup event, Dec. 17-18, in Garmisch P., Germany. Meanwhile, Cook is preparing for next weekend’s IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy.

Photo: Tim Burke.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adirondack Winter Atheletes Update, Outlook

A number of Adirondack athletes have been competing in World Cup and international events around the globe. Here’s how they fared over the past several days, and the outlook ahead:

In alpine skiing, Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht and Keene’s Tommy Beisemeyer competed in the World Cup series opener in Lake Louise, Canada. Weibrecht, the 2010 Olympic Super G bronze medalist, finished 30th in Saturday’s, men’s Super G event. Beisemeyer did not finish the race, but both are off to Beaver Creek, Colo. for this week’s Audi Birds of Prey World Cup.

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths will headline the American squad at the IBU Biathlon Workd Cup series which opens today, Dec. 1, in Ostersund, Sweden.

Bobsled’s Europa-Cup series visited Koenigssee, Germany over the weekend and Lake Placid’s John Napier, a 2010 Olympian, piloted his two-man sled to a fifth place finish on Saturday. The following day Napier drove to a 13th place result in the four-man event. The World Cup tour begins this weekend, Dec. 2-4, in Igls, Austria.

High winds in Kuusamo, Finland forced officials to cancel Saturday’s nordic combined jump and instead use Friday’s provisional round for seeding. Vermontville’s Billy Demong was 30th in that round and started his ski more than three minutes back. The two-time Olympic medalist was the 11th fastest skier on the course and finished 19th overall. The series moves on to Lillehammer, Norway for a pair of events this weekend.

Photo: Andrew Weibrecht (Courtesy U.S. Ski Team).


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bobsled, Skeleton World Championships to Return

Lake Placid will once again be hosting the 2012 FIBT Bobsled/Skeleton World Championships February 13th-26th.

Lake Placid has been a trendsetter in hosting events. They became the first village outside of Europe to host a world championships event in 1949, and the village has staged eight world championship races since then. The most recent Bobsled/Skeleton World Championships was in 2009 when the “Night Train”, led by Steve Holcomb, rocketed to the first US World 4-Man Bobsled title since 1959. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

This Summer at Olympic Venues

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) will soon be re-opening the Olympic venues for the summer and fall seasons.

The Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway in Wilmington, N.Y. kicked-off the openings on May 20th. The highway allows visitors to drive to the top of the fifth-highest peak in the Adirondacks, one of only two whose summit is accessible by car. The highway is an eight-mile drive from Wilmington to the summit, where a castle made of native stone and an in-mountain elevator await. The highway is open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. thru Oct. 10. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Off-Season Workouts of Winter Sports Athletes

As a winter athlete, it is inevitable that even in a town like Lake Placid, which is known for its accessibility to winter sports, there will be an off season. Athletes in all winter sports have an “in season”, where they are competing and training, and an “off season”, when there is less availability to the medium of their sport (snow, ice) and they must train differently.

Athletes approach training differently; however, there are certain methods of off season training which are uniform. Different sports emphasize different qualities; speed, agility, flexibility, or power. Some need more of one quality than others; for example, figure skaters require more flexibility than a speed skater or hockey player, while the focus in the latter sports is on speed and power. Therefore, the training varies from sport to sport.

Figure skaters don’t tend to have a break from skating; most train all year round. What differs is the intensity of training. The off season for skaters is often from late spring until early fall, and this time period is spent developing new programs, building up strength and agility, and using other sports to train for the in-season. Many skaters practice dance, weight-lifting, cardio, stretching, and yoga in both on and off season, but the off season is a good time to practice more extracurricular activities. Figure skaters need agility but also flexibility; as such, their training program emphasizes those qualities. While most lift weights, they also practice plyometrics (which develops quickness and agility) and off ice jumps. Stretching is also an important part of their training routine. It is important to note that many skaters do not run or participate too much in activities that pound on their knees, as they already take a beating in figure skating training. Check out this link for more information about off ice training for figure skating.

Speed skaters require totally different training. The emphasis in the off season is on building strength for the upcoming season. Many don’t realize that speed skaters make their greatest strides from off season training, which incorporates “dryland” training, weight-lifting, and cardio. It is common for a speed skater to practice “low walks”, which is walking with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle to simulate the position achieved in speed skating. Watch this video of Sven Kramer, one of theWorld’s best long track speed skaters training in the off-season. For a glimpse of what it takes to train as an Olympic speed skater during the season, watch Apolo Ohno work out in this video.

Hockey requires speed, power, and agility. The training program off-season reflects this, and many hockey players spend their off-season lifting weights, working on cardiovascular fitness and agility. On ice and off ice training is year round, and the player’s training routine depends on what position they play.

Skiing has a few different sub-sports: alpine, freestyle, Nordic, and ski jumping. All have different emphasis and are very different in not only activity, but how training is approached. Ski jumping, the exciting sport in which the ski jumper flies down the ski jump, launches themselves in the air, and lands, requires precision and control. Explosive power is needed for the takeoff, and the legs must be able to support the force of landing. As such, ski jumpers practice plyometrics, lunges, squats, and stair running workouts.

Athletes who compete in alpine skiing usually train on the snow, but when that isn’t available, train dry land. This can take several forms, including sprints, plyometrics, and weights, all tailored to the common movements in alpine skiing.

Freestyle skiing combines several types of skills and a few types of skiing; aerial, moguls, and ski-cross. Aerials combine skiing and acrobatics, so athletes need to be coordinated and agile. Moguls, where the skier maneuvers around mounds of snow with tight turns, requires quickness and agility. Ski-cross is a discipline in which the skiers take off en-masse and navigate a course. They need to be technically proficient, quick off the start line, and able to maneuver around each other and terrain. Athletes can train with several aids such as trampolines, cross country simulation machines, and in Lake Placid, a pool for athletes to practice aerials into during the summer months. Other than that, skiiers train various ways including cycling, weight lifting, roller-skiing (like cross country skis, except with wheels) and plyometrics.

Nordic skiing athletes are more endurance based skiers whose sport consists of skiing various distances. Their training is similar to the other skiers but with more emphasis on endurance. They might also row, cycle, or in-line in the off season.

Biathlon is a sport which combines cross country skiing with target shooting. Biathlon athletes must combine the endurance and fast paced nature of cross country ski racing with the focused accuracy of target shooting. Arguably the most difficult part of biathlon is calming the mind and body after cross country racing to shoot the target. Racers practice the same type of training as cross country skiers, but also have to practice incredible mental focus.

Luge, the sport requiring athletes to slide down a track on a sled, requires a lot of upper body strength. The takeoff for the luge track is started by using the upper body to gain momentum while on the sled. Therefore, the off ice training often focuses on upper body strength. Mental fitness is also very important.

The sliding sports of skeleton and bobsled share similar components; both require the athlete to get a running start on the track before boarding the sled and navigating the track. The sports have a quick agile component as well as precision in steering the sled. Athletes competing in these sports typically train all year round, even without the benefit of ice on the track. Training methods include sprint workouts, cardio, plyometrics and weight lifting.

For more information on winter Olympic athletes, check out teamusa.org


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Second Olympic Bobsledder Joins National Guard

A second Olympic bobsledder has joined the New York Army National Guard. Nicholas Cunningham, a member of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team in 2010, will take time away from training in Lake Placid to become a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist for the 1156th Engineer Company in Kingston, NY.

In January Olympic Gold Medal Bobsledder Justin Olsen enlisted in the New York Army National Guard under the same program. Olsen has been a member of the United States Bobsled team since 2007; he will report for basic training at the end of April.

“I just signed my papers with the New York Army National Guard and I’m off to basic training in two weeks,” Cunningham said in a Twitter message sent last Monday.

Olsen said he began thinking about the National Guard when his fellow USA Bobsled teammate Mike Kohn, who was then a sergeant in the Virginia Army National Guard, told him about the Army National Guard and the Army Athlete Program.

Olsen made the World Cup team in his first season and became one of the nation’s top bobsledders, he is one of two pushers on the four-man team.

In 2008, Olsen earned a spot on sled USA 1 with driver Steven Holcomb, winning two silver and two bronze medals in the first half of the World Cup tour. Olsen also helped push Holcomb to a first place finish at the 2009 National Championships for four-man and a silver medal at the inaugural World Cup in Whistler, Canada.

At the 2009 World Championships, Olsen teamed with Holcomb again to win gold in the four-man and a Gold Medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Cunningham, 27, who took 12th place in the 2010 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled category, made the official switch from the back of the sled to the driver’s seat, and has been named as an emerging elite driver for the U.S. program. Coaches expect Cunningham to be vying for a spot on the national team as a pilot next season.

Once they complete their individual entry training, both men are expected to apply for the Army World Class Athlete Program which provides athletes with support and training to compete in national and international competitions while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the US Army.

Selection in the Army World Class Athlete program is open to members of the active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard who compete in an Olympic sport and have maintained good military standing. Once a National Guard Soldier is selected, they are brought on active duty and performance is monitored for selection and attendance to required military schools to ensure program Soldiers remain competitive with their military counterparts.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, 40 Soldier-athletes have participated in the summer and winter Olympic Games winning Gold, Silver and Bronze Olympic Medals.

Photo: 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Justin Olsen displays his Gold Medal after enlisting into the New York Army National Guard, Jan. 7. Photo by SFC Steven Petibone, New York Army National Guard.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Summer Fun for Winter Sports Enthusiasts

Even though the weather might not reflect the shifting seasons, it’s already spring and summer is just around the corner. Winter sports fans and athletes might be wondering what to do in Lake Placid during the summer season; luckily, there are plenty of options available. Here are just a few:

Skate on the historic rinks in the Olympic Center. For the figure skater, there is an 8 week summer camp from June until the end of August. Visit Lake Placid Skating for more information.

Can Am Hockey offers tournaments and camps all summer; check out their website. If you’re interested in public skating, there are sessions available during the summer; visit the ORDA website for details.

Visit the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum in the Olympic Center for a dose of Lake Placid Olympic History. They are open 10 am to 5 pm daily, and admission is 6 dollars for adults and 4 for children and seniors. Call 518-523-1655 for more information.

Bobsled rides are not just for ice, you can take the wheeled version during the summer. Visit the ORDA information page for details.

If you desire an biathlon experience, “Be a Biathlon” sessions are available. Shoot a .22 caliber rifle and test your marksmanship skills on the winter biathlon targets. The experience includes an intro to biathlon rifles and safety as well as two rounds of target shooting. For more information visit their page.

All ages and abilities can try their favorite winter and summer Olympic sports in a safe environment with the Gold Medal Adventures program. Activities include wheel luge, wheel bobsled, and venue tours. Call 518-523-1655 for more information.

Watch figure skating and hockey in the Olympic Center, or get the inside scoop on the venue by taking a tour. Admission is 10 dollars a person. For tour times call 518-523-1655.

See where Olympic athletes live and train while in Lake Placid by visiting the Olympic Training Center. Tours of the facility are available at 3 pm on weekdays. For more information call them at 518-523-2600.

Summer is a great time to visit Lake Placid, many summer versions of winter sports are available, as well as summer sports like golf, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, running, cycling, and more.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Empire State Games, Jack Shea Sprints in Lake Placid

Winter sports of all kinds are taking place in Lake Placid this weekend when the 2011 Empire State Games kick off on Friday February 25th, giving New York State athletes the opportunity to compete in their winter sports. The Olympic Style Opening Ceremonies, in which the athletes march into the arena with their respective sport teams, will be on Friday at 6 pm in the Olympic Center 1980 Herb Brooks arena. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Long Time Saranac Lake Resident Phil Wolff Passes

Philip George Wolff, 95, a Saranac Lake resident and florist for decades and an Adirondacker well known for his public service and wry wit, died Thursday February 3, 2011, at his western home in San Diego.

Phil, as he was known to friends and several governors, was the oldest living licensed bobsled driver, the chief of staff of the 1980 Winter Olympic Organizing Committee, and the proud founder of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum. He achieved State Historical Site recognition in 2009 and National Historic Site recognition in 2010 for the 1932 Mt Van Hoevenburg Bobsled Run. Phil’s hand-restored 1921 Model T nicknamed “Jezebel” was donated to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

Phil was a veteran of WW II, serving in the Army Corps of Engineers in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945. At the end of the war, he was among the troops sent to occupy Japan, where he and several fellow soldiers on an assignment there just six days after the atomic bombings that ended the war saw a road sign for Nagasaki, and out of curiosity, detoured into the heart of the destroyed city and took photos of one another at ground zero. The adventure became one of the many stories of his incredible life that Phil loved to tell, showing the snapshots that proved it. He received the Purple Heart, Silver Star and other citations before returning to Saranac Lake and a reunion with his wife Elsie (Hughes) Wolff, who had built up their business during the war years and given birth to their first daughter, Cynthia, during his absence. Phil served an additional 17 years as an Army Reserve officer, starting an Army Reserve unit at Paul Smith’s College. He retired with the rank of Captain.

Born in Buffalo on October 19, 1915, he attended Cornell University where he was a member of the ski team and met his wife of 70 years. Another of his favorite stories was of the night he was playing bridge with classmates, discussing whom they were going to invite to an upcoming campus event. When a fellow card player said he was going to invite Elsie Hughes, Phil excused himself from the table the next time he was dummy, went to a phone and asked her himself.

Phil, who earned the money for college by selling furs he trapped on his way to and from high school, took a year off from college for his first job, that of designing and constructing Saranac Lake’s Riverside Park in 1937, before graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture in 1938. Elsie gave him an ultimatum — he could be a farmer without her or a florist with her, and they were married in 1940, opening and operating a greenhouse in Ray Brook that year and a florist shop in Saranac Lake called Wolff Your Florist, which closed in 1981, having delivered thousands of distinctive white corsage boxes to young women over the decades.

Phil became an early 46er in 1940. He loved hiking the High Peaks (in moccasins) with his scouting friend Frosty Bradley. Adirondack Life magazine published his memoir of those trips and his meetings with hermit Noah Rondeau in the April/May, 2010 edition, making Phil, then 94, perhaps the oldest author to have an article published in the magazine, complete with photos he took of Rondeau. He was proud of his paycheck from the publication.

Phil was active in the community, serving as president of Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. He was a member of the Town Board of North Elba, Chairman of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, a member of the Northwood School Board of Directors, the Saranac Lake Golf Course Board of Directors, He also was the Treasurer of the Cornell Alumni Association Class of 1938 (until his death), and a founding member and treasurer of AdkAction.org, an Adirodack advocacy group founded in 2006 when he was in his early 90s. He was elected Town Justice of the Town of North Elba in 1960 and served for 16 years, performing many marriages including those of his children. He was seen during Winter Carnival over the years with other Rotarians as Miss Piggy, among other caricatures. In San Diego, California where he and Elsie took up winter residence in 1987, he enjoyed serving turkey to the “older folks,” most of whom were younger than he, at the Poway Rotary Thanksgiving Dinner for Senior Citizens.

Phil was an Eagle Scout and member of Troop 1 in Barker, NY, where he returned in 2010 to bestow the Eagle badge on their latest recipient in August, 2010. He founded the first Boy Scout Troop in Saranac Lake in 1939.

Phil was a member of the 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympic bid committees. In 1978 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the 1980 Winter Olympic Organizing Committee, a position he held until the LPOOC’s closure in 1987, volunteering his time during the last three years of that assignment. He also served as chief of the Security Committee for the 1980 Games. One of his proudest accomplishments was being the founder and president of the 1932 and1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, where he remained on the board until his death. He was inducted into the Lake Placid Hall of Fame in 2002.

Phil will be remembered by family and friends for his generosity and thoughtfulness, his ability to fix anything, his love of golf with his friends, the intricate ship models he constructed in bottles, his broad thinking about solutions for the Adirondacks he loved, his bad jokes, his love of his alma mater, his collection of Olympic and Adirondack books and memorabilia, and his love for his wife and family. His favorite saying was, “Isn’t it nice to have the WHOLE family together.”

Phil is survived by his wife Elsie, his children Cynthia of LaJolla, CA (Bill Copeland); David of Ridgefield, CT and Saranac Lake (Holly); and Steve of Poway, CA (Stephanie) as well as grandchildren Dj, Stephen, Alex, and Andrew.