Don’t blink: athletes set new skeleton track record in rare tie

PARK CITY, Utah. — Yesterday on the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) track, two women skeleton racers and one man set a new a track record (tr).

Katie Uhlaender (USA) and Megan Henry (USA) both individually crossed under the Arches finish banner 0.32 seconds faster than when Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) did it at the 2014 World Cup.

Belly down, head first is also how skeleton athlete Austin Florian (USA) set the men’s new track record of a blistering 48.48 seconds. That local record had been held by Pyeong Chang 2018 Olympic gold medalist Yun Sung Bin (KOR) at 48.50.

Although this is not an internationally sanctioned race, these national records stand.

Sliders will be the first to say that those sought-after statistics are attributable in large part to the UOP crack track crew. A combination of the diligent efforts of the early morning shift, the late night shift and if need be, the overnight shift ice meisters, who go over the artificially frozen track with fine toothed comb-like customized tools and vehicles.

The UOP’s tr for 2-man bobsled is 47.74; 2-women bobsled is 48.73; 4-man bobsled is 46.57; mono bobsled is 53.92 set by Nicole Vogt (USA). The sister sports of bobsled and skeleton always travel together.

Monobobs, which are single-person sleds, are only raced by women, as dictated by the International Olympic Committee. United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USABS) athletes Kaillie Humphries (USA), a three-time Olympic medalist, and former Canadian athlete and three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers-Taylor are among those in Park City this week. They’re vying for a spot on next season’s World Cup team, which they would almost assuredly parlay into an appearance representing the United States in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. 

Humphries got a bye in yesterday’s race, earned by winning the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland last season, but is still sharpening her skills down the track. 2022 will debut the monobob Olympic event, so the team members to be named from these races are a part of history in the making.

2-woman bobsled push athlete Sylvia Hoffman (USA) said, “Everyone’s doing their best, pushing hard and driving fast. The ice has been fast so thank you to the track crew. We’re all here enjoying the weather, enjoying the ice and enjoying the people.”

The racers leave Park City tomorrow, bound for Lake Placid, NY, the only other artificially refrigerated track in the country, where they’ll compete in the second of these two Team Selection competitions.

Sylvia Hoffman in between runs. Photo: Michele Roepke


The ‘lower loop’ of the UOP track. Photo: Michele Roepke


USABS 4-man bobsled athletes preparing for their forthcoming runs at the UOP. Photo: Michele Roepke


Parkite volunteer Ester Mitchell and Centerville, UT volunteer Gary Hooper help out the UOP and USABS. Photo: Michele Roepke


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