KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Altis Athlete Katie Uhlaender is one of two American women in position to contend for an Olympic medal today, just 0.14 seconds from podium position after finishing fourth at the halfway point.
“I’m having mixed feelings,” Uhlaender said. “I was really happy with my first run even though I made some mistakes at the top that cost me quite a bit of speed, but the second run I had a huge mistake at the bottom that cost me from pulling ahead.”
Uhlaender, 29, trained for close to two months in 2013 at Altis in Phoenix in preparation for her third Olympic run. She was sixth at the 2006 Turin Olympics and 11th in 2010 Vancouver. This season, she has been limited in competition due to a concussion, lowering her World Cup ranking to No. 16.
“I sacrificed my world ranking to recover,” said Uhlaender, who started 15th in the first run because of her No. 16 world ranking. “You can only control so much and Picabo (Street, 2-time Olympic medalist in Alpine skiing) told me last night there is no room for BS in my brain today. That’s my motto going into this race.”
Uhlaender finished sixth in 2006 and 11th in 2010. She became a favorite to medal in 2014 after breaking the track record and finishing second to Pikus-Pace at the World Cup race on the Sanki track last February.
Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) is two runs away from adding an Olympic medal to her already impressive sliding resume after finishing the first day of women’s skeleton Olympic competition at the Sanki Sliding Center in second position.
“That would be a dream come true if Katie and I could both be up on that podium together, to have two U.S. flags flying and waving in the wind,” Pikus-Pace said. “That would be absolutely incredible.”
The women’s competition continues today at 7:40 p.m today with the third and fourth heats. All four heats will be combined, and the athlete with the lowest total will be declared the winner.
Heats 1 & 2 results:
1. Elizabeth Yarnold (GBR) 1:56.89 (58.43, 58.46)
2. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:57.33 (58.68, 58.65)
3. Elena Nikitina (RUS) 1:57.44 (58.48, 58.96)
4. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:57.58 (58.83, 58.75