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In This Issue
2011 Push Championships
Summertime taining
Coach's Corner: Todd Hays
Athlete Highlight: Elana Meyers
Featured Article

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Sliding to Gold

Journey to the top... 

Greetings!  

We're counting down the days before the official start of the 2011-2012 bobsled and skeleton season, which will be special for a number of reasons. The 2010 Olympic Games are in the rearview mirror and we are well down the road toward our next destination; Sochi.  

 

The name of the game for the next two seasons is building momentum. We are getting a big help in that effort thanks to the world's biggest bobsled and skeleton event of the year, the FIBT World Championships. The best teams from the best nations in the world will come to Lake Placid in February 2012 to compete on America's home track. It is a challenging track and it is where most U.S. athletes got their start, making us one of the best teams on the hill. We have high expectations for our squad this season, and history shows us that they can deliver.  

 

The last time Lake Placid hosted this event in 2009, they did an outstanding job. Not only did the U.S. take Gold in the four-man race, but ORDA provided non-stop entertainment for the fans. It was great to see so many former sliders at the races and we are hoping to see even more of them at the 2012 event. We have assembled a committee to organize an alumni reception as well as our second USA Bobsled & Skeleton Hall of Fame induction ceremony as part of the festivities. For those who have never been to this event, I can sum it up in one sentence; this is the world's biggest event of the year for the coolest sports on ice. I hope to see you there.

 

Sincerely,

Darrin Steele

USBSF CEO

USBSF Pushes Off the Start of the 2011-2012 Season
2011 National Push Championships Preview
Jesse Beckom on the push track

Jesse Beckom on the push track

Tropical Storm Irene swept along the east coast last weekend, leaving many residents in the Adirondack Park under water and without power. Despite road closures and flooding, Lake Placid U.S. Olympic Training Center resident and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers said, "The show must go on." Over 60 bobsled and skeleton athletes from around the nation will travel to northern New York this weekend for the 2011 U.S. National Push Championships.

  

"We hope to be a positive example for the community," Meyers said. "There's a lot of damage to surrounding areas, and we want to do what we can to help the communities that support us. We'll keep pushing, literally and figuratively, to recover."

 

Men's and women's bobsled athletes will compete in a single push event on Sept. 7th, which will determine combinations for a team push on Sept. 10th. Skeleton athletes will battle for their right to the title on Sept. 17th.

The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) staff has reached out to town officials in hopes of engaging the team in local recovery efforts following the competition.

 

"The Adirondack region is a community that has welcomed us year after year, and we want to do what we can to give back in this time of need," said Darrin Steele, USBSF CEO. "Lake Placid is headquarters for the sliding sports in the U.S. and host for the 2012 World Championships, so this storm hit close to home."

 

Team members are scheduled to arrive on Sunday and kick off the week with a combine test on Monday. Athletes must score 600 points or above in a series of speed and power drills that make up the combine test in order to qualify to compete. The men's and women's bobsled push championships results will be taken into account by the team selection committee as they name the national team following trials this October.

 

"Push championships is the opportunity for every returning athlete to show all the hard work they've been putting in over the summer, and it's an opportunity for all the new athletes to compare themselves to the national team and Olympians," Meyers said. 

 

Meyers hopes to win her fourth consecutive women's bobsled push championship title next week. Already an Olympic medalist as a push athlete, Meyers is now aiming for gold as a pilot in 2014.

 

"Winning the title of national push champion only makes you want it more the next season so you can show that you've continued to progress as an athlete," Meyers said. "At the same time though, you are always looking to be faster than you were the last season- win, lose, or draw."  

 

Three-time bobsled Olympian Todd Hays will get his first glimpse of the team as the newly hired women's bobsled coach.

 

"This will be my first push championships as a coach for the U.S. program and I am excited to see the women in competition mode," Hays said.  "This will help me better understand where each athlete is physically and set a starting point for our future goals.  From what I've seen so far it looks like the women have had a great summer of training and I am hoping to see it pay off."

 

On ice results are the combined outcome of push athlete and driver effort, which is why this event is an important competition for push athletes to show their individual talents.

 

"As bobsled athletes, push championships is our first of few opportunities to test our abilities against the nation's best," said Steve Langton. "I'm very excited and optimistic as the season draws closer. Our program is strong and considering the number of quality athletes we have competing this season, I have very high hopes for this World Cup season."

 

Not only does Langton hold several national titles, but he's also the reigning world push champion. The international federation hosted its first ever world push competition last season in Cesana, Italy, and Langton brought the title home by 0.03 seconds.

 

"Every opportunity to compete is an opportunity to win," Langton said. "Having claimed a few titles over the past few years has motivated me to continue to improve and better myself as a push athlete."

 

Drivers will analyze push championship results before selecting their team of athletes for national team trials in Lake Placid this October. Athletes will put forth their best to impress not only the drivers, but to gain the attention of the coaching staff.

 

"This is definitely an important aspect of building teams," said Brian Shimer, U.S. men's bobsled head coach. "We have a great mix of rookie and veteran athletes competing. It keeps veterans looking over their shoulder, and it's good to have new talent continually pushing our team to get even better."

 

The results of skeleton push championships do not have an impact on team selection, but head coach Tuffy Latour emphasizes the importance of getting athletes back into competition mode leading up to the season.

"Push championships is shaping up to be another great event for USA skeleton," Latour said.  "This competition will include some very strong veteran sliders, new recruits from last year and our newest additions from combine events this summer.  The competition should be outstanding." 

 

The U.S. skeleton program has grown from 14 athletes at the conclusion of the 2010 national team trials to 60 since Latour took the reigns last summer.

 

"The transformation of the program is due to an increased recruiting partnership with the Olympic Regional Development Authority," Latour said. "The U.S. Olympic Committee has stepped up support for our team and this added benefit has helped the program to grow very rapidly."  

 

The USBSF would like to thank the Olympic Regional Development Authority and Rick Preston for helping to repair the push track earlier this summer to meet competition standards.

 

Media and fans are encouraged to attend U.S. National Push Championships. The push track is located at the rear of the Horse Show Grounds in Lake Placid, and competition will begin at 11 am EST on Wednesday and 10 am EST on Saturday.

 

 

What do USBSF athletes do all summer?  

 Continuing excellence to Sochi...

Megan Hill Summer.mov
Megan Hill Summer.mov

Every year in early April, spring comes to Lake Placid and the ice begins to melt on the bobsled and skeleton track, forcing its closure for the season. The athletes put away their sleds, waiting for the track to once again re-open in October.  So what do USBSF athletes do from April to October? Pushing a bobsled or skeleton sled requires a unique combination of athleticism- strength, speed, and power. During
the summer months, athletes work on increasing their athleticism in various locations throughout the country. 

 

Although many athletes reside at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Lake Placid, NY, many other athletes train at the OTC in Colorado Springs, CO, and also in their hometowns.National team skeleton athlete Kimber Gabryszak spent this summer training in Park City, Utah.

 

"I trained in Park City, since I live here with my fiancÚ, Brad Stewart, and we both have jobs here," Gabryszak said. "I also have access to a great coach in Salt Lake, Tim O'Mara, only a half hour drive away. He's responsible for my vast push-time improvements over the last few seasons." 

 

Other athletes, such as National team skeleton member Joy Bryant, opted to train at an OTC, a complex designed to give elite athletes the opportunity to eat, sleep, and receive sports medical attention all at one site. Bryant stayed at the OTC in Lake Placid, NY. 

 

"I trained in Lake Placid, NY, because the Olympic Training Center is the environment I need to be in to be successful in the sport," Bryant said. "The weight room and environment really drives me to perform at my best. Our new strength and sprint coach Brad and his staff are the best!" 

 

Athletes work hard to improve their physical abilities during the summer, but also must find ways to support themselves financially. For many athletes, this means hosting fundraisers, selling items on e-bay, working part-time, and finding other creative ways to fund their sliding season. Gabryszak worked as a land use planner for Summit County, Utah, a position she has held for the past six years. Second year bobsled pilot Cory Butner worked for Southern California Edison electrical company all over Southern California in order to cover expenses for bobsled.  Whether it's training, fundraising, or working, bobsled and skeleton athletes are doing whatever it takes to make their Olympic dreams a reality. Real athletes are made in the off-season, and the USA bobsled and skeleton teams are no exception.

SUPPORT and SAVE!  Be the push we need!
 

Get what you need at discounted prices and donate to help push USBSF athletes to Sochi 2014. Market America is an online commerce store that allows the purchase of an abundance of different products. For each purchase you make at www.marketamerica/usabobsledskeleton, the USBSF receives a cash back donation that can be used for athlete funding, equipment, gear and support throughout this season and future seasons leading through to the 2014 Sochi, Russia Olympic Games. Bobsled and Skeleton are considered amateur sports and athletes rely on the majority of their funding from fundraising efforts, donations, local sponsorships, working multiple jobs and more. Help the USBSF in their efforts to continue Olympic success and get more out of your buck!

Coach's Corner 
Todd Hays

 

As a three-time Olympian and 2002 Olympic silver medalist for the United States it is a huge honor to be back coaching state side and working with Team USA.  

 

Recently named as the women's bobsled head coach, I am honored and proud to use the athletic knowledge I gained from participating in the sport for 20 years to help take these elite female athletes to the next level heading to Sochi 2014.  I am really excited for the young talent we have moving up as well as seeing what our promising recruits can add to the fleet.  

 

Going into the 2011-2012 season there is great excitement from the coaching staff and athletes as Lake Placid, NY will be hosting the World Championships in February 2012.  This is a huge advantage for Team USA, and we plan on pushing to the podium on our home track. As we enter the second season of the Olympic quad, I am hoping to continue the momentum of our women's team by building every year in preparation for the biggest competition on the world's stage, the Olympic Games.  With the restructuring of our coaching staff, strength and conditioning coaches and resilient attitude of our athletes, I say "Look out world, Team USA is going for gold!"

Athlete Highlight

Elana Meyers 

Elana

Elana Meyers - 2010 Olympic Bronze Medalist

(Click image to view Elana's Blog)

Native of Douglassville, GA, Elana Meyers won the bronze medal for Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games with driver Erin Pac in the two-women bobsled event.  Recently making the switch to the driver's seat post Olympic success, she earned 9th place at the 2011 World Championships held in Konigssee, Germany this past February as a rookie pilot.  She is a self-proclaimed coffee addict and loves buffalo wings with cheese fries (real cheese not the sauce!).  A recent graduate student of George Washington University, Elana wishes, post her athletic endeavors, to work in marketing for the USOC.

 

Meyers was also awarded Rookie of the Year at the USA Bobsled and Skeleton National Team camp in June and hopes to get on the podium this World Championships on her home track in Lake Placid, NY February 2012.  Learn more by following Elana Meyers on twitter: @eamslider24 or visiting her facebook fan page.

 

Elana's Squat PR - Summer Training
Elana's Squat PR - Summer Training

 

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