Pac, Meyers win women’s bobsled bronze
February 27, 2010
WHISTLER, British Columbia — Erin Pac and Elana Meyers claimed the women’s bobsled 2010 Olympic bronze medal at the Whistler Sliding Center Wednesday tonight. The U.S. claimed three of the top six standings and North Americans swept the podium. Bree Schaaf teamed with Emily Azevedo to finish fifth and Shauna Rohbock of Park City partnered with Michelle Rzepka of Novi, Mich., to place sixth.
"There’s a lot behind this medal," said Pac. "It means so much personally and it means so much to our team."
Pac and Meyers maintained their silver medal position after clocking a third run of 53.29 seconds. Despite nursing a strained hamstring, the U.S. duo pushed a blistering start time of 5.16 seconds.
"I was just trying to stay calm and relaxed," said Meyers. "We’ve been going at this to have fun this whole time, and that’s really what I was trying to do. I had the hugest grin on my face going down because I knew we were about to do something special."
Pac and Meyers maintained their composure and burst off the starting block in 5.23 seconds. Pac navigated her BoDyn sled to the finish in 53.78 seconds for a four-run combined time of 3:33.40. As team USA II crossed the finish line, Pac looked at her time and threw her hands in the air to celebrate her bronze-medal performance.
Four years ago Pac was just learning to drive a bobsled and her goal to be an Olympian was a distant dream. Today Pac proved she’s one of the best in the world on one of the world’s most notoriously difficult tracks by winning an Olympic bronze medal.
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"I’m not really sure how I feel yet," said Pac. "I still feel the same. It’s just going to be something hanging around my neck for the rest of my life. It’s not going to change me or Elana. We just feel a little bit happier."
In fifth place were Schaaf and Azevedo with a total time of 3:34.05. Team USA III was tied for sixth entering Wednesday’s final heats. The duo moved up one position after sliding a third run of 53.56 seconds, and a final run of 53.40 seconds, which was third best of the heat.
"It’s been a pretty emotional experience," said Schaaf. "The whole two weeks leading up to it you can just feel so much energy. Just trying to control it and harness it as much as we could today."
Schaaf and Azevedo teamed together for start times of 5.30 and 5.27 seconds Wednesday. The pair teamed together to win the 2009 National Championship title to qualify a position on the World Cup team, and finished sixth in their World Cup debut on the Whistler course.
"Obviously we would have liked three in the top three, but top six isn’t too bad," said Azevedo. "I think we just gave it everything we had."
In sixth was Rohbock and Rzepka with a combined time of 3:34.06. The pair pushed start times of 5.20 and 5.18 seconds for runs of 53.53 and 53.44 seconds, respectively.
"Our goal this entire time was to get down on four runners and just compete and do our best and we did everything we could do today and, unfortunately it didn’t work out the way that we wanted it to," said Meyers. "You always come in trying to medal and we were three sleds in the top six. Our teammates got the bronze medal. The North Americans were all on the podium. Everyone did a great job. Everyone was great competitors and it’s just such an experience being at the Games and becoming and Olympian and actually competing. So I’m walking away with a great memory that I’ll have for the rest of my life."
Rohbock has struggled with the upper portion of the course this week, but laid down the fourth fastest runs of the day Wednesday.
"The U.S. got a medal today and that’s what’s most important," said Rohbock. "Erin did a great job and put four runs together to be on the podium and I wasn’t able to do that so it’s awesome that we were able to have those four sleds in the top six."
Kaillie Humphries teamed with Heather Moyse to dominate the competition, breaking the track record in her first three runs to claim the gold. The Canadian duo slid a combined time of 3:32.28 for a victory on their home track.
Canadian teammates Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown finished second with a total time of 3:33.13.
Germans Cathleen Martini and Romy Logsch were nipped at team Pac’s heels, but a driving mistake in the complicated 11-12-13 curve combination flipped the German sled over. Logsch was ejected from the sled and the team was disqualified.
1. Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse (CAN) 3:32.28; 2. Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown (CAN) 3:33.13; 3. Erin Pac and Elana Meyers (USA) 3:33.40; 5. Bree Schaaf and Emily Azevedo (USA) 3:34.05; 6. Shauna Rohbock and Michelle Rzepka (USA) 3:34.06.