Team USA wins gold at para sport world championships

LILLEHMMER, Norway —Team USA Bobsled  (USABS) had a victorious day at the IBSF Para Sport World Championships with Bob Balk winning gold and becoming this season’s World Champion in Para Bobsled. 

After two runs on March 9, Balk was in first with a two-run time of 1:51.80. Will Castillo was in ninth with a time of 1:52.51, David Christopher was in thirteenth place with a time of 1:52.51 and Austin Parker was in 14th with a time of 1:54.37. 

After receiving a Purple Heart from the Army, Veteran Castillo began his journey into first Para Skeleton and then Para Bobsled.

On March 10, after the final two runs, Balk finished first with an overall time of 3:44.10, Castillo finished ninth with a time of 3:45.49, Christopher finished 13th with a time of 3:48.10 and Parker finished 14th with a time of 3:48.45.

Park City provided the foundational trial runs, administrative duties, and volunteerism for the now-thriving sport discipline of Para Bobsled. The National Ability Center (NAC) had athletes with disabilities try out the sport decades ago partnering with the Utah Olympic Park (UOP)

“Thank you to the race organizers and track workers for giving us such a great track and ice to race on this morning! It is a privilege to be racing with such talented and collegial group of competitors. Everyone pushes and supports each other to their very best,” Balk said to USABS

In the process of becoming this season’s champion, Balk broke the track record in Lillehammer, the second time that this has happened this season for U.S. para sliders.

Before the World Championship festivities had started, there was a Para Sport World Cup race held in Lillehammer on March 8. In this event, Balk again made it onto the podium, placing third with a two-run time of 1:52.72. Castillo placed 11th with a time of 1:53.35, Parker finished 13th with a time of 1:54.42 and Christopher placed 14th with a time of 1:54.62.

Para Bobsled continues its push to be included in the Winter Paralympic Program.

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