Park City duo dominates America’s Cup
October 31, 2008
To speak figuratively, the past year has been a bumpy ride on a long track for Shauna Rohbock and Val Fleming, silver medallists in the two-person bobsled in 2006.
Last year, the duo, who live in Park City, spent the season testing out new equipment, sometimes with less than winning results and ended the year with a crash at the World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, that left both injured and scrambling to recover in time for the next winter season.
This week, the two are competing in the America’s Cup race at the Utah Olympic Park. On Thursday they won the competition with a combined two-run time of 1:40.95. On Friday, the sat squarely at the top again, winning with a combined time of 1:41.21. The two came back to win after taking second place in the first run.
The two have been sliding well thus far, leading the competition at the U.S. Team Trials in Lake Placid, N.Y. earlier in the month. But so much competition so early in the season is wearing on them a bit.
"I think I’m getting burnt out on racing, racing, racing," Rohbock said.
The two say they are pretty happy with their equipment now and are glad to have the intensive testing out of the way as they draw nearer to trying to capture another Olympic medal in 2010.
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"There was a lot of testing not all of it worked out so well," Rohbock said. "But better last year than an Olympic year."
Rohbock said their sled has run well in Lake Placid and this week in Park City.
"We just need to work on our start and drive well," she said.
Fleming said they spent the summer tuning up their own bodies. Rohbock separated her shoulder in the Altenberg crash and had to have surgery and Fleming hurt her back. the time they were feeling better it was late summer, so the duo has been playing catch-up to be ready for the fall’s competitions.
"I’m optimistic," Rohbock said. "I’m feeling good."
They are certainly feeling well enough to lead the American contingent and hope that will continue into World Cup competition later in the year. Rohbock just hopes that all the racing in October doesn’t hurt their chances as other nations spend their time this month in training.
"I don’t think it’s the best to have all of the races in the beginning," she said. "Hopefully we won’t be too tired for the World Cup.
The America’s Cup will continue through this weekend on the Olympic ice track. Other Parkites sliding include Steve Holcomb and Ivan Radcliffe. Competition will be held Saturday, with the four-man bobsled competition at 9 a.m. followed by skeleton events at 2 p.m. Sunday will wrap up the event with the final four-man competition at 9 a.m. Admission is free. Call 658-4200 or visit http://www.olyparks.com for more information