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Skeleton and Bobsled


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24 replies to this topic

#1 jkempa

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:42 PM

Anyone here interested in skeleton or bobsled? The track at Whistler should be the site of some serious carnage this year. Curve 13 on the Whistler track has been nicknamed the 50/50 turn by US bobsledder Steven Holcomb because during the first training runs, only about 50% of the sleds successfully made it through. This track is technical and FAST.

The US has been the standard for bobsled in both men's and women's events this year. USA skeleton has not had the same level of success as in previous seasons.

In skeleton, US men Eric Bernotas (6th in 2006), Zach Lund (former World Cup Champion disqualified in 2006 due to b.s. doping violation) and John Daly (literally had to win and won 6 lower circuit races in a row in order to qualify, beating out Matt Antoine who was 3rd in Whistler last year) represent the men. Bernotas is the only one with a WC win this year and it was on the St. Moritz track, which, like Whistler, is long and fast.

For the women, Noelle Pikus Pace makes her Olympic debut after a brutal accident in 2006 kept her out of the games. She is a former World Cup and World Champion. Daughter of Ted Uhlaender (former MLB), Katie is the other women's entry, 6th in 2006 and also a 2x World Cup Champ. She is recovering from another surgery, which seems to be an offseason tradition for her. This track could also favor an athlete like Noelle.

In bobsled, Holcomb and John Napier (23 years old) are ranked 1-2 in the world on their Bodyn sleds. Mike Kohn also qualified, but doesn't figure to be in the medal hunt. The US has three very strong women drivers as well, Shauna Rohbock, Erin Pac and former skeleton athlete Bree Schaf. Rohbock and Pac figure to be medal contenders.

If anyone has any burning questions about skeleton, I'm happy to answer them here.

#2 SoxScout


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Posted 05 February 2010 - 01:04 PM

Damn.
QUOTE
There will be no “Cool Runnings” this time around in a Canadian Olympics.

The Jamaican national bobsled team, which gained acclaim in its Winter Olympics debut at Calgary in 1988 and spawned a Disney movie loosely based on the experience, did not qualify a sled for the Vancouver Games.

The team had spent the last few weeks hoping for a spot. Hannukkah Wallace, the team’s driver, is ranked among the top 50 drivers and the squad benefited from sleds donated by the American bobsledder Todd Hays. But a preliminary list of qualifiers did not include the team, according to The Associated Press.

“I’m in tears, man,” said Devon Harris, a member of the original national team in 1988, in a telephone interview. “It’s one of those things. It’s highly disappointing. Our team worked very hard and fell short.”

Harris said the team was vying for a wild card slot and finished two sleds short of making the Olympics. The team’s attention, he said, is already turned to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“We intend to come back and come back huge,” Harris said. “This is not the end.”
http://vancouver2010...lify-for-games/

#3 jkempa

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:42 PM

Germans accused of using questionable equipment

QUOTE
Two top North American skeleton contenders voiced concerns Wednesday over the sledding equipment used by Germany, a powerhouse in the sport.

Jeff Pain of Canada, the silver medalist at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, accused the Germans of equipping their sleds with magnetic components and questioned their legality. The suspicions were echoed by an American skeleton racer, Zach Lund.



Canada not playing nice

Canada has been keeping athletes away from the various venues in order to preserve home-field advantage. I know that they've followed the letter of the law on the sliding track, but the Canadians were given much more access to the track in Park City than they are giving at Whistler. Apparently it goes for other venues as well, like speed skating, skiing, etc.

This ought to give a pretty nice advantage to the Canadians in the sliding sports, especially on this track.

#4 barbed wire Bob


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Posted 13 February 2010 - 01:05 AM

Dumb question but what is the jury for in luge competitions? Are the lugers awarded style points for their runs?

#5 jkempa

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:56 AM

QUOTE (barbed wire Bob @ Feb 13 2010, 01:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dumb question but what is the jury for in luge competitions? Are the lugers awarded style points for their runs?

There is a jury for all of the sliding sports. Their job is to ensure that the race is fair for everyone. This includes testing the sleds for compliance with FIBT / FIL rules. I can speak to what happens in a skeleton race but it's similar for all three sports. The jury needs to make sure that conditions are relatively even for all athletes. For example snow can make the conditions uneven. They need to make sure that the grooves at the start are properly maintained. The jury checks to make sure that sled and pilot weights are in compliance at the end of a run. They check that the runners are made of fibt approved steel and don't have any contaminAnts that may unfairly benefit an athlete. They also check runner temperature versus control runners at the start to make sure no one is heating their runners (see my next post on that). Sleds are very compicated on the inside too. A medal winner is going to have his sled torn open to make sure that the insides match the specs in the rules. There shouldn't be moving parts, for example. I'm probably fogetting a few things but you get the idea.

#6 jkempa

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 12:01 PM

I wanted to find out more about the NY Times story and how magnetic runners could help the Germans. I asked a sledbuilder I know and here was his response.

"water is di-electric.  That means that a magnetic field will repell water.  The Germans have more than a magnetic field.  They have a copper sleeve in their upright box.  couple that with a magnet and you have a dynamo.  A dynamo generates electricity whose bi product is heat.  We tested all runners just as they came off the track at Lake Placid.  The German runners are consistently 2c warmer than everyone elses and that is after they are cooled in the runnout.  Interesting isn't it."

the German athletes in skeleton are always picking up speed in an impressive way at the end of a run. If their runners are heating *during* a race, that is an unbelieveable advantage because runners are not tested for temperature control At the end only the beginning.

Edited by jkempa, 13 February 2010 - 12:04 PM.


#7 Hendu's Gait


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Posted 13 February 2010 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (jkempa @ Feb 11 2010, 10:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Germans accused of using questionable equipment




Canada not playing nice

Canada has been keeping athletes away from the various venues in order to preserve home-field advantage. I know that they've followed the letter of the law on the sliding track, but the Canadians were given much more access to the track in Park City than they are giving at Whistler. Apparently it goes for other venues as well, like speed skating, skiing, etc.

This ought to give a pretty nice advantage to the Canadians in the sliding sports, especially on this track.


They could have used that advantage in '88. Embarassing if you ask me.

#8 barbed wire Bob


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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:18 PM

QUOTE (jkempa @ Feb 13 2010, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wanted to find out more about the NY Times story and how magnetic runners could help the Germans. I asked a sledbuilder I know and here was his response.

"water is di-electric. That means that a magnetic field will repell water. The Germans have more than a magnetic field. They have a copper sleeve in their upright box. couple that with a magnet and you have a dynamo. A dynamo generates electricity whose bi product is heat. We tested all runners just as they came off the track at Lake Placid. The German runners are consistently 2c warmer than everyone elses and that is after they are cooled in the runnout. Interesting isn't it."

the German athletes in skeleton are always picking up speed in an impressive way at the end of a run. If their runners are heating *during* a race, that is an unbelieveable advantage because runners are not tested for temperature control At the end only the beginning.



Those sneaky bastards! smile.gif I'm impressed, that is a pretty clever idea.

#9 dcmissle


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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:38 PM

QUOTE (barbed wire Bob @ Feb 13 2010, 02:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Those sneaky bastards! smile.gif I'm impressed, that is a pretty clever idea.


Doris and Angelika Neuner say hi. Different sport; same principle.

#10 Hendu's Gait


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Posted 15 February 2010 - 01:06 PM

FWIW, the winners of the 1st leg of this season of The Amazing Race, won a trip for 2 to Vancouver, which includes a skeleton run at the track. ohmy.gif

#11 Fratboy


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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE (jkempa @ Jan 27 2010, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anyone here interested in skeleton or bobsled? The track at Whistler should be the site of some serious carnage this year.

You don't say...

#12 jkempa

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:20 AM

QUOTE (Fratboy @ Feb 15 2010, 07:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You don't say...

Yeah, I wish I hadn't been right about that. But I think that there was a general understanding that this track was really pushing the limits. Crashes are part of the sport, but not like what happened. It will be interesting to see the bobsleds and skeletons go from the top.

#13 jkempa

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:19 PM

Results from first day of skeleton training on Monday. Canada is dominating the training runs - 300 trips down the track will give you a bit of an advantage over those with 20 or so.

You can't read too much into the training runs, but the Canadians look like they will be tough to beat.

If anyone cares, here are the training times from Monday

#14 jkempa

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:41 PM

Zach Lund POV

#15 jkempa

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:28 AM

Watch Skeleton Live (FU NBC)

#16 jcd0805

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:45 AM

QUOTE (jkempa @ Feb 19 2010, 01:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Awesome, thanks!!! Cannot believe none of NBC's channels can carry this live, what a shame. Also can't believe how how many times I've heard how hard turn 16 is for people to navigate sad.gif

#17 jkempa

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 01:55 PM

Nice story about John Napier. Everybody loves this guy.

ESPN - Rck Reilly

#18 NYCSox


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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:26 PM

The 62 year bobsled gold medal drought is finally over. smile.gif

Edited by NYCSox, 27 February 2010 - 11:27 PM.


#19 JimD

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 01:15 AM

QUOTE (NYCSox @ Feb 27 2010, 11:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The 62 year bobsled gold medal drought is finally over. smile.gif


Yep - nice job by Holcomb and his crew in going wire to wire to beat the Germans and Canadians.

The Canadian tactic of limiting practice time on this track didn't exactly pay big dividends - only 4 out of 24 available medals won to go with what will likely be years worth of accusations that those tactics contributed to the death of the Georgian luger.

#20 Al Zarilla


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Posted 28 February 2010 - 01:48 AM

QUOTE (NYCSox @ Feb 27 2010, 08:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The 62 year bobsled gold medal drought is finally over. smile.gif
Made me think of another number: 86. Hard to believe.


#21 reggiecleveland


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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:12 PM

QUOTE (JimD @ Feb 28 2010, 01:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Canadian tactic of limiting practice time on this track didn't exactly pay big dividends - only 4 out of 24 available medals won to go with what will likely be years worth of accusations that those tactics contributed to the death of the Georgian luger.



Did you go to the Eric Vann school of twisting numbers?

First of all there are only two teams in each event so they couldn't win all 24 medals they had a chance to win at max 16 medals

Second they had on advantage in luge since the course was changed to a different start point. that is four event or 4 of the 16 not 24 medals. So they won 4 of the 14 remaining medals. They won 2 gold. I expect this will be the best result Canda wil have in these events and a lot of it is owed to the familiarity with the track. Other than luge they were in every event.

Third The limiting of practice time is nothing new. In the past like 1988 Canada allowed the USA unprecedented access to facilities at Calgary. Shani White trained in Calgary. Canada stopped giving the USA virtually unlimited access to their facilities.

The criticism that is fair is they made the track too fast and too difficult just to gain a competitive advantage. This was beyond a dick move and probably killed that kid from Georgia.



#22 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE (reggiecleveland @ Mar 1 2010, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Third The limiting of practice time is nothing new. In the past like 1988 Canada allowed the USA unprecedented access to facilities at Calgary. Shani White trained in Calgary. Canada stopped giving the USA virtually unlimited access to their facilities.

I believe you mean Shani Davis - who trained in Calgary as part of a program that mixed international athletes with Canadians, sharing coaches and most rescources. That was ended by "Own the Podium", and it probably had a negative effect on the skaters who had been training with him. There's an intrinsic benefit to being around the best, and while the arrangement helped Shani lots, it also helped the group that trained with him more.

#23 reggiecleveland


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Posted 03 March 2010 - 04:03 PM

QUOTE (Fred not Lynn @ Mar 1 2010, 01:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I believe you mean Shani Davis - who trained in Calgary as part of a program that mixed international athletes with Canadians, sharing coaches and most rescources. That was ended by "Own the Podium", and it probably had a negative effect on the skaters who had been training with him. There's an intrinsic benefit to being around the best, and while the arrangement helped Shani lots, it also helped the group that trained with him more.


That's who I meant. I agree, the best thing would have been to have two international training sites (one in Vancouver) rather than shut down Calgary. You win with depth, not elite training. Canada is good in hockey because millions of kids play, more than the elite coaching.

it also helped the group that trained with him more

My nephew is playing pro basketball now. The only advice I gave him that he repeats is that I told him to lift weights with football players. You will know you are strong if you can hang with them. The same would go for having the best skater on earth on your Oval.

Anyway my point stands, Canada had a unique program of sharing, then they stopped. The idea that they were jerks for limiting time is opposite to the truth. They quit being extra accommodating, they were not capricious in their access to their facilities, they just stopped being so nice. The fact this ultimately hurts them does not change the fact that they shared their facilities the same amount as anyone else

The attitude that “Canadians are Dicks" because the USA could no longer train at Canada’s facilities shows that the Americans feel entitled, not grateful, for access to Canada’s facilities.

#24 jkempa

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:42 PM

QUOTE (reggiecleveland @ Mar 3 2010, 04:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's who I meant. I agree, the best thing would have been to have two international training sites (one in Vancouver) rather than shut down Calgary. You win with depth, not elite training. Canada is good in hockey because millions of kids play, more than the elite coaching.

it also helped the group that trained with him more

My nephew is playing pro basketball now. The only advice I gave him that he repeats is that I told him to lift weights with football players. You will know you are strong if you can hang with them. The same would go for having the best skater on earth on your Oval.

Anyway my point stands, Canada had a unique program of sharing, then they stopped. The idea that they were jerks for limiting time is opposite to the truth. They quit being extra accommodating, they were not capricious in their access to their facilities, they just stopped being so nice. The fact this ultimately hurts them does not change the fact that they shared their facilities the same amount as anyone else

The attitude that “Canadians are Dicks" because the USA could no longer train at Canada’s facilities shows that the Americans feel entitled, not grateful, for access to Canada’s facilities.


The Canadians did the bare minimum of what was required for the 2010 Olympics. I can't speak to all sports, but I do know that that the US allowed significant access to the track at Park City prior to the 2002 games and the track at Lake Placid is effectively managed as an international track - and they allowed everyone frequent access prior to the 2009 World Championships, including the Germans who were dicks about the 2008 World Championships at Altenberg. The US and Canada used to practice reciprocity, but the Canadians ended that just prior to the Vancouver Olympics. I believe they let the Russians get some extra runs in exchange for more runs at Sochi but that was it.

In other news, team Holcomb is on Letterman tonight.

#25 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:22 PM

QUOTE (reggiecleveland @ Mar 3 2010, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The attitude that “Canadians are Dicks" because the USA could no longer train at Canada’s facilities shows that the Americans feel entitled, not grateful, for access to Canada’s facilities.

As far as the Calgary situation is concerned, the facility continued to offer ample ice access to international skaters, as well as coaching and other services (for fee). They just swithced from a system there where the Canadians and international skaters actually trained in the same groups and with the same coaches, to one where the Canadian skaters were segregated from the others, and worked directly with their own coaches.