UOP season gets snowy start
Another winter, another year of what hometown favorite Stephan Bosch does best. Even as brisk winds and a surprise snowfall threatened to blur the track, Bosch, the bobsled veteran and his teammate, Tim O’ Mara, slid to their first victory in the first two races of the two-man boblsled competition in the AIT Worldwide America’s Cup Bobsled and Skeleton competition held at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) this week with a combined time of one minute and 41.73 seconds. The win was no real shock for Bosch or even his competitors. The former World Cup German slider has the talent to compete on the World Cup circuit, but lack of citizenship during an Olympic year has sidelined him to the America’s Cup tour. "I’m sliding since 1986 so I’m pretty comfortable in the America’s Cup," Bosch said. Bosch must compete in the America’s Cup to maintain eligibility for next year’s World Cup circuit. Sliders from countries with less 10 sleds in the national trials need five international races on three different tracks to be eligible for the World Cup. Citizenship is only required in an Olympic year. According to International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (FIBT) Western Regional Program Director Steve Revelli, Bosch is the sentimental favorite at bobsled events held in Park City. As the main pilot for bobsled passenger rides at the park, Bosch has many friends at the Park and in the community. He’s probably as experienced as anyone down the track," Revelli said. Another hometown slider is Joe Sisson. The Evanston, Wyoming native has been using the Park City track since he was 14 (10 years ago) and claims the track at his own. Sisson slid to a ninth-place finish in front of his loyal supporters. The Park City contingent joined sliders from six countries, including six American teams. The U.S. Team I of John Napier and T.J. Burns took second place with a combined run time of 1:42.69. Jamaicans Winston Watt and Garnet Jones took third with a 1:42.77 finish time. According to Revelli, sliding in harsher conditions can mean different things for different athletes. "We have drivers that are good on bad days and drivers that are good on good days. So, it mixes things up. Drivers are both in different conditions," Revelli said. Bosch said that as bobsledders they are always prepared for any winter condition, but even a longtime driver such as himself saw his sled’s push time slow down as the weather worsened. Revelli said that the weather reports predicted that conditions would improve as the week wore on, with a clear day forecasted for the second day of the men’s four-man bobsled on Friday. The third and fourth races of the two-man bobsled were scheduled for Tuesday. The women’s competition was cancelled due to lack of competitors. Wednesday and Thursday will bring the two days of men’s and women’s skeleton competitions and the first day of the four-man bobsled competition on Thursday. Bosch, who expects to achieve citizenship prior to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in Canada the final games he will attempt to qualify for, is the heavy favorite in the end of the week races. For the updated schedule for the America’s Cup competitions at the UOP this week, log onto http://www.usbsf.com.
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