Olympics

US sliding teams ready for training

Share This Story

   
 

For many U.S. Olympic hopefuls in luge, bobsled and skeleton, preparations for the Sochi Games are about to intensify.

Venus and Serena Williams

USA! USA! USA!

See who contributed to the United States winning the Olympic medal race. GALLERY: US gold-medal winners.

Luge racers from around the world start a training week on the Olympic track Friday, and then bobsledders and skeleton athletes get their last pre-games look at the Sochi facility starting Nov. 8.

Not everyone from the U.S. Olympic pool will be heading to Russia for these sessions - several bobsled push athletes who will likely be Sochi-bound in February for their sport's biggest races are planning to stay home and remain in their typical preseason routines, and current plans also call for some top American skeleton racers like Noelle Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender to miss the training week.

Others say the runs they'll get in Sochi over the coming days are vital parts of their training.

''I won't really be holding back,'' U.S. luge racer Julia Clukey said. ''I'll be testing different setups every day and just making sure that when I leave at the end of the week I'm confident that I have the best setup for that track and going as fast as possible.''

There are limits to how many runs sliders get per day on the track during training weeks, which is standard. For bobsledders, up to 20 runs will be available during the November training period in Sochi while luge and skeleton athletes will get as many as 24 trips down the track. Typically, that's more than enough time for sliders to at least start feeling comfortable with a relatively unfamiliar track.

ALL-AMERICAN

Skier Lindsey Vonn is pure gold. Check out her photos.

''In the grand scheme of things for a new track, that's still not very much,'' former luge world champion Erin Hamlin said.

But international officials - especially after Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a training-run crash on the track used for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics hours before the opening ceremony of those games - also went out of their way to ensure that athletes get enough time to better learn the Sochi track before February.

And even though Sochi in February will feel much different from Sochi in November, it's easy to see that those who will be there for the training weeks may find themselves with a bit of Olympic fever.

''I went to the training week before the Vancouver Olympics as well, but I was just mentally different,'' said U.S. skeleton slider Annie O'Shea, who will spend her winter trying to qualify for Sochi. ''I didn't think I had a chance to go to those Olympics. Now I'm like, this will be really beneficial and I'm ready for this. I've grown enough to know how important this is and what it really means.''

The national teams for luge, skeleton and bobsled have been picked in the last couple weeks, after a series of selection races at the two U.S. bases for sliding in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Park City, Utah.

Luge women's national champion Kate Hansen is expected to be able to train in Sochi despite breaking her right foot in a preseason crash. Hansen's doctors believe she can be ready to race without problems when the World Cup season for luge opens at Lillehammer, Norway, on Nov. 16.

World Cup racing for bobsled and skeleton starts Nov. 29 in Calgary, Alberta.

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


OLYMPIC VIDEOS

Olympian Van Dyken injured in ATV accident

Posted: Jun 09, 2014
America's Pregame provides an update on the condition of former Olympic swimmer ...

Phelps clocks fastest qualifying time in return

Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Michael Phelps clocks the fastest qualifying time in 100-meter butterfly at the ...

Clark claims 7th US Open halfpipe crown

Posted: Mar 09, 2014
Watch Kelly Clark land the first-ever cab 1080 en route to claiming her 7th win ...

Gold wins US Open halfpipe

Posted: Mar 09, 2014
Watch Taylor Gold's US Open-clinching run in the halfpipe, featuring an epic Fro...

Blind skier prepares for 2014 Paralympic Games

Posted: Mar 07, 2014
Blind skier Staci Mannella pushes the limits as she prepares for the 2014 Paraly...

Fox Sports Store