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Oct. 2011: In This Issue
Push Championships results
Hurricane Irene hits close to home
Support the team
Opening day in Lake Placid
Coach's Corner with Tuffy Latour
Athlete Highlight: John Daly

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Sliding to Gold

Journey to the top... 

Greetings from Mount Van Hoevenberg,


I can't believe it is already time to open the track for the 2011-2012 season. The refrigeration is on and icing begins October 3rd, one week before the first sled hits the ice. This summer we added a new viewing deck to Curve 9, which will give coaches, athletes, and spectators an up close and personal view of the action in this previously hidden curve.


It was great to see the athletes back in Lake Placid for U.S. National Push Championships this September. I can tell everyone is working hard and eager to climb the podium this season. Congratulations to everyone who competed; I can't wait to see how your hard work translates onto the ice.


I was overwhelmed to see all the athletes that stepped up to help in the New York State Labor for your Neighbor campaign, which offered support to those impacted by Hurricane Irene. Over 30 athletes gave back to the community and helped the town of Keene get back on their feet after this difficult tragedy. I couldn't be prouder of them.


This year promises to be as exciting a year as ever. Mount Van Hoevenberg will host the 2012 FIBT World Championships from February 16-26, where we will crown World Champions in bobsled and skeleton. We are also gearing up for a busy domestic and international sliding season, which includes two America's Cup competitions, an international Driving School, and Skeleton and Luge National Championships. It all starts October 10th with the ice cream social, where fans can meet the team and get autographs while celebrating opening day of the track this season. I hope to see you there.


Warm Regards,

Tony Carlino

Manager Olympic Sports Complex


Results are in of the fittest and fastest 
2011 National Push Championships Review
Elana Meyers - 2011 Pilot Push Champion
Elana Meyers - 2011 Pilot Push Champion
USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes convened in Lake Placid, N.Y. to compete in the 2011 U.S. National Push Championships from Sept. 7-17.  Athletes competed in a two-heat contest on the wheeled push track for their chance to claim the coveted national title.
Four veterans and two rookies claimed  this year's U.S. National Push Championship titles. Steve Langton and Katie Eberling were the title winners of the bobsled brakeman categories, while Steven Holcomb and Elana Meyers won their respective divisions as bobsled pilots on Sept. 7.  Luke Schulz and Megan Henry claimed the skeleton push championship titles in a highly contested race held on Sept. 17.


"Our program is growing and some of the newer athletes are already competitive with some of the fastest athletes in the nation," said Tuffy Latour, skeleton head coach.


Luke Schulz's winning push
Schulz claimed his first skeleton push title by 0.15 seconds after clocking a total time of 9.72 seconds.  Schulz, who is entering his fifth season, pushed identical runs of 4.86 seconds to post the fastest times of each heat.


"I didn't allow anything to disrupt my concentration," Schulz said.  "I've had trouble putting together two consistent runs throughout my career, and this was the first time I was able to do that.  My mentality changed from a timed performance to just trusting the process and competing at my best.  I'm looking forward to applying that on ice."


John Daly was the runner up with a two-push total of 9.87 seconds.  The 2010 Olympian clocked heats of 4.90 and 4.97 to finish just 0.07 seconds ahead of Mike Delleman, who finished third with a combined time of 9.94 seconds.


Henry started only her second season in the sport by winning the women's skeleton push title with a convincing lead of 0.28 seconds. 


"Push championships definitely brings you back into the sliding mentality," Henry said.  "Summer is ending and it was really cold here this week, so it's a wakeup call that the skeleton season is approaching.  Even though this competition doesn't determine selection for skeleton, I think it's still important to get the competitive edge back after a long off-season.  I'm so excited."


Henry posted the fastest times of the competition, 5.40 and 5.43 seconds, to take the lead with a two-push total of 10.83.  Megan Sullivan pushed start times of 5.54 and 5.57 seconds for a total of 11.11 to finish second, and Caitlin Carter came from behind after the first heat to claim the third spot with a combined push time of 11.25 seconds.


Steve Langton's winning push

Langton won his third bobsled national push title by 0.11 seconds. The reigning world push champion clocked a time of 4.61 seconds from the brakeman position and 4.66 seconds from the side for a total time of 9.27 seconds.   


"It definitely feels good to start the season with a win," Langton said.  "I worked really hard this summer and this was the first opportunity to see where I stacked up against the best in the country."


Langton's USA I teammate Curt Tomasevicz pushed his way into second place with a combined time of 9.38 seconds after pushing 4.66 from the brakes and 4.72 from the side.  The fourth member of USA I, Justin Olsen, posted a respectable sixth place just one week after returning from Army basic training.


"Our sled is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with this year," Langton said.  "World championships are back in Lake Placid this February, and our goal is to win double gold.  Push championships is the first time to see where everyone is at physically, and I think our goal is doable as long as we do what we're capable of doing."


Chuck Berkeley returned to competition for the first time today since competing in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to finish third with a total of 9.40 seconds. 


Steven Holcomb has already made a statement about his status as driver of USA I after claiming the men's bobsled pilot title by 0.18 seconds.  Holcomb pushed identical start times of 4.69 seconds for a combined total of 9.38 seconds.


"It's nice to be training hard again," Holcomb said.  "I've been living here this summer at the Olympic Training Center getting back into the swing of things.  It definitely feels good to start the year off with a push title."


Holcomb ended a 50-year U.S. streak without a four-man world championship gold in 2009 and claimed the first four-man bobsled Olympic gold medal for the country in 62 years at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  The veteran is seeking his second world title this February. 


"Our team is looking good," Holcomb said.  "We're motivated and ready to bring back the world title to the U.S. this year.  We're ready."


Cory Butner and Jay Noller rounded out the top three standings in the men's pilot division.  Butner claimed silver with a combined time of 9.56 seconds after clocking 4.80 and 4.76, while Noller posted total time of 9.82 seconds for third place.


Rookie athlete Katie Eberling was the surprise winner in the women's bobsled push championships.  Eberling, 23, led a field of 15 women by 0.24 seconds to claim her first-ever title of what she hopes will be many.


"I decided to come here to give it a shot and to see how it felt," Eberling said.  "I still have a lot to learn, but I'm going to keep pursuing it and hope to gain a lot over this year."


Amped up after posting the fastest start time in the first heat, 5.22, Eberling bettered her time and clocked a 5.19 in the final run to claim the title with a total of 10.41 seconds.


"I don't know many people that are lucky enough to have the opportunity to be in this environment, so I feel fortunate and excited," Eberling said.  "Working and training with elite athletes is something you dream about when you're little, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  I'm in a transition phase now after graduating, so this was good timing."


Seasoned veteran Emily Azevedo clocked a total time of 10.65 seconds to finish second after pushing two heats of 5.32 and 5.33, and second-year athlete Kristi Koplin  finished third with a two-push total of 10.66 seconds.


Elana Meyers claimed her fourth consecutive bobsled push championship title today after winning the women's pilot division by 0.29 seconds. 


"That felt pretty good," Meyers said.  "I'm excited about the great start to the season.  I still have some things to work on, and I plan on getting faster."


Meyers moved into the driver's seat after winning the 2010 Olympic bonze medal as a brakeman for pilot Erin Pac.  Meyers was touted as one of the fastest push athletes in the world, and she's made a smooth transition to becoming one of the fastest pilots in the nation.


"I'm still making improvements each year," Meyers said.  "One of my strengths as a brakeman was coming off the block, and it's a different technique pushing as a driver.  I'm still making gains and plan on getting even faster."


Jazmine Fenlator finished second with a total of 10.56 after posting times of 5.31 and 5.25, and Bree Schaaf claimed bronze after clocking a cumulative push time of 10.79 seconds.


Full results for the 2011 U.S. National Push Championships can be viewed here.


Hurricane Irene hits close to home 

for many USBSF athletes 

Lending a helping hand in Keene, NY
Jazmine Fenlator speaks about Hurricane Irene relief efforts
Jazmine Fenlator speaks about Hurricane Irene relief efforts

Over 30 USA Bobsled & Skeleton athletes volunteered to aid in Tropical Storm Irene recovery efforts in Keene, N.Y. following bobsled push championships on Sept. 12, and banded together to support a bobsled athlete personally effected by the storm. 


"It made me proud to be coach of these young men and women who so willingly gave a helping hand," said Brian Shimer, men's bobsled head coach.  "It's a good feeling to see everybody come together as a team and to help a community that has always reached out to us with open arms when we come to town.  The least we could do was help."


Keene is a neighboring town to Lake Placid, which is home to the sliding sports in the United States. Athletes were eager to support the community that has welcomed them to the Adirondack Mountains year after year. 


Gulf Brook became a raging torrent and swept away several buildings in Keene, including the volunteer fire department.  Water overflowed its banks to flood homes and local businesses and eroded roads into a creek bed filled with debris.  Athletes helped shovel several truckloads of dirt and debris in their two-day cleanup. 

"It was terrifying to see the damage that storm wreaked in the Adirondacks," said Bree Schaaf, women's bobsled Olympian.  "It was unbelievably heartwarming to see how quickly our team was willing to volunteer.  We have an extraordinary group of athletes with huge hearts."


Jazmine Fenlator may have shown the biggest heart this weekend.  Fenlator's hometown in Wayne, N.J. was in a State of Emergency.  Her family's home was destroyed by floodwater, and she hasn't been able to get back to her hometown to help her family recover what little is left.  Despite her personal loss, Fenlator was one of the first athletes that volunteered to help cleanup in Keene. 


"Jazmine doesn't have a place to go home to, yet she was right there with the team with a shovel and rake," Shimer said.  "That shows true character right there."


The USBSF created the Jazmine Fenlator Family-Hurricane Irene Relief Fund  to assist the Fenlator family in starting over. Jazmine's mom, Suzie Fenlator, and younger sister, Angelica Fenlator, have applied for FEMA assistance, and are currently staying in a hotel thanks to funds Jazmine supplied through her savings.


"When I called to tell my mom the news of the fund being started for our family, she began to cry," Jazmine Fenlator said.  "She said she's always believed in angels, but now she has angels on ice.  She is extremely grateful and feeling so blessed by the huge support and efforts to help.  She now realizes why I call it my USBSF family."


Funds for the Fenlator family will help cover current hotel expenses while Suzie and Angelica Fenlator are displaced as well as future purchases to replace ruined household items such as furniture, kitchen appliances and fixtures, bathroom sinks and cabinets and electronics. 


When Jazmine called her mom after Tropical Storm Irene slammed the northeast, Suzie insisted that everything was fine at home and encouraged Jazmine to focus on achieving the dream she'd spent all summer working towards by competing in push championships.  It wasn't until Angelica called the evening before the combine test on Sept. 4th that Jazmine learned the extent of the damage.


"My mom said, 'the house is gone, Jazmine, it's destroyed.' That phrase has been ringing in my ear all week," Jazmine Fenlator said.  "She was weeping, telling me how sorry she was because all of my childhood memories-pictures, art projects, ribbons- were gone.  I told her it was OK and they were nice to have, but that I didn't need them.  She and my sister were the irreplaceable items and I'm just happy they are safe."


This has already been a whirlwind year for the Fenlator family.  Suzie suffered a heart attack in January and underwent emergency quadruple bypass surgery in April.  Just two months later she suffered a stroke, leaving her left arm with some mobility damage.  Another two months later her Lupus came out of remission, leaving Suzie exhausted. Hurricane Irene dashed the hope that bad luck only comes in threes by sweeping away the life Suzie had built for herself and her children.  Irene did not, however, wash away Fenlator family hope.


"Her strength and perseverance for whatever life throws her way is what gives me strength," Jazmine Fenlator said.  "Since I wasn't able to go home, it was extremely important for me to help with cleanup in Keene.  These are families facing a similar tragedy that need a helping hand to help stand back up and rebuild.  It was great to see all USBSF athletes, from rookies to development athletes to Olympic medalists, helping out."


Donations for the Fenlator family are being accepted online here. Help support the towns of Keene and Jay, NY in their Tropical Storm Irene recovery by visiting, or to make a donation.  

Support the USA Bobsled & Skeleton team

The United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) represents our country's top sliders - bobsled and skeleton athletes proudly wearing USA in World Cup and Olympic competitions.


Unlike athletes from many of the nations we compete against, USBSF members receive no continuous government funding. The money it takes to train, prepare, compete and win at the highest amateur level comes from sponsors like you.


Share our pride and join the USA Bobsled & Skeleton team this season. From the 2011-2012 World Cup series through the 2014 Winter Games in Russia, we'd be honored to have you along for the ride as we, together, are Sliding2Sochi.  


Learn more about how to become a sponsor here, or make a donation to support the USA Bobsled & Skeleton team here.


Suport USA Bobsled & Skeleton Team
Support USA Bobsled & Skeleton team
Got a NEED, A need for SPEED
Join us for opening day of the Lake Placid Sliding Track for an Ice Cream Social: 
Lake Placid Track - Fall 2011The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is hosting an ice cream social in celebration of the coolest sports on ice!  In conjunction of the opening of the combined bobsled, skeleton, and luge track, the ice cream social will be held on October 10 from 1:30-3:30 pm.   
Not only will the ice cream social welcome back all the athletes and kick off the 2011-2012 season, but  it's also an opportunity for the public to meet the athletes over a variety of delicious cold treats.  The 2011-2012 season begins with U.S. national team selection races for bobsled and skeleton, as well as U.S. nationals for luge.  ORDA also welcomes the world as it plays host to the 2012 FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships in February.   

The ice cream social will introduce the official mascot of the 2012 World Championships.  The mascot will be on hand for pictures and autographs.    

Donations will be accepted for free ice cream, while supplies last.  Athletes will be on hand for autographs, so come out and support your U.S. bobsled, skeleton, and luge teams.  For more information visit the website and follow ORDA on twitter @LP_Sliding.
Coach's Corner with Tuffy Latour


Tuffy Latour has been a member of the USBSF staff for 10 years and leads the skeleton national team as head coach.  The Saranac Lake, N.Y. native competed as a bobsled pilot for eight years on the Europa Cup and World Cup circuits, and was ranked as high as fifth nationally in skeleton before taking an administrative role. Here's a glimpse into how coach Latour directs his team and some lessons we can all learn about how to achieve our best:

"As the off-season winds down and we start to switch gears I want to remind everyone of some key areas that will help them have a successful national team trials.  


Communication is one of those key areas. We need to have information flowing from all areas: from coaches to athletes - from sports medicine to sports physiology- from the USBSF to the Olympic Regional Development Authority and Utah Olympic Park.  


Another key area is trust.  Athletes must trust the process that got them to where they are versus outcomes - you can't be completely result driven.


We need to continue to build 'our' team - the USBSF and all of our partnerships.  Embrace the team approach - together everyone achieves more.


Lastly, being fast is not about being perfect.  I think that we sometimes try to be perfect and forget that we need to just be fast.  A fast start and a fast run starts with the belief in yourself, your equipment and the team around you.


Trust the process and love what you do!"



Athlete Highlight: John Daly 

John Daly


Smithtown, N.Y. native John Daly participated in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in the men's skeleton event for Team USA. Daly finished 17th at the Games and posted his best World Cup result last season after finishing fifth in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  A former BMXer and track and field athlete from SUNY Plattsburgh,  Daly enjoys Penne alla Vodka and the color blue.  A resident athlete at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, Daly continues to push the boundaries of speed.  He broke the Lake Placid men's skeleton track record last season and consistently clocks some of the fastest push times in the world.


He hopes to get on the podium at the 2012 World Championships on his home track in Lake Placid this February.  Learn more by following Daly on his Facebook fan page.


5th place WC finish for John Daly  - from Universal Sports
5th place World Cup finish for John Daly - from Universal Sports


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