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Team USA 1-3 after day one of women’s bobsled World Championships

Team USA 1-3 after day one of women’s bobsled World Championships

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Feb. 17, 2017)- Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) is on pace to claim her second career World Championship title after leading the first day of the 2017 women’s bobsled competition by 0.02 seconds with Kehri Jones (Killeen, Texas). Olympic bronze medal teammates Jamie Greubel Poser(Newtown, Pa.) and Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) threaded together a perfect second heat to finish day one in third position, and the duo is just 0.03 seconds from silver medal position and 0.05 seconds from their teammates in the lead. Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz are currently in second place, making tomorrow’s deciding heats a fierce battle between the North Americans for the title.
“It’s a great place to be in, but it’s a close race,” Meyers Taylor said. “The field is getting bigger and bigger as we get closer to Korea, and the competition is getting stiffer and stiffer. I think this is the closest World Championships the women’s field has ever seen.”

World Championships are held in a four-heat format over two days. The team with the lowest combined time over the four heats will be declared the winner.

Meyers Taylor and Jones were the fastest team off the start with push times of 5.17 and 5.18 seconds. Jones was recruited to bobsled in 2015 after sprinting at Baylor University, and Meyers Taylor calls Jones her “spark plug.”

“Kehri and I are meshing right now and we’re doing some good things, but we always want to go faster, push it even harder,” Meyers Taylor said.

Meyers Taylor piloted her BMW sled to the finish in 51.60 seconds in the first heat to take the lead by 0.08 seconds over the Canadians, but the margin shrunk to 0.02 seconds after a second run of 51.54 seconds.

“I lost some time in the second run, so I’ll need to figure out what happened, and I still have some work to do,” Meyers Taylor said. “From my perspective, I focus on each run and each curve at a time, and I’m not thinking about what position I’m in. It’s a battle from start to finish.”

The two-time Olympic medalist’s sliding resume already includes five World Championship medals. Meyers Taylor won her first World Championships in 2015 with Cherrelle Garrett in Winterberg, Germany after beating out three German crews to claim the first-ever title for the U.S. women’s program. She and Jones were victorious in the Koenigssee World Cup three weeks ago, and Meyers Taylor has been on a medal streak this season with four gold and two silver medal World Cup performances so far.

Greubel Poser and Evans were powerful off the start block with start times of 5.20 seconds in both heats. The KOA branded BMW sled skid going into the first corner in run one, which was enough to scrub speed from their run, placing the duo in fifth with a time of 51.81 seconds.

“That was everything right there, it just took away our advantage at the start,” Greubel Poser said. “The rest of the run was pretty much perfect, but I knew that mistake at the top was going to impact us.”

Greubel Poser expertly guided her sled to the finish in 51.38 seconds in run two, fastest of the heat by 0.10 seconds, to gain three positions with a total time of 1:43.19, placing the team in bronze medal position.

“I was able to fix it in the second run to put us in a position we wanted to be in,” Greubel Poser said. “Sometimes we need a little fire to get after it. We work well in that position, knowing we had to put our first run behind us and give it everything we had in run two. We are in a great position to fight for gold.”

Greubel Poser finished second in the Koenigssee World Cup earlier this season and has battled her teammate Meyers Taylor for podium position each week with a gold, silver and four bronze medal finishes. Greubel Poser’s best World Championship finish to date is fifth in the 2016 Igls, Austria event and the 2015 Winterberg event, and she is hungry for the title.

“I like the four-heat race,” Greubel Poser said. “I’ve been driving well here. With two runs we were able to get into medal position, but with four we have a chance to fight for the title.”

Humphries and Lotholz are in second position with a two-run total of 1:43.16, but Greubel Poser and Evans will be hungry to chase down the Canadians and their teammates in tomorrow’s finale.

Brittany Reinbolt (Searcy, Ark.) and Lauren Gibbs (Los Angeles, Calif.) finished day one of racing in 10th position with a two-run total of 1:43.74. The duo clocked identical starts of 5.24 seconds to put themselves in the mix with the fastest sleds off the block, and Reinbolt piloted the team to the finish in 52.11 and 51.63 seconds.

This is Reinbolt’s rookie season on the elite tour and today was her World Championship debut, while Gibbs pushed Meyers Taylor to a bronze medal finish in the 2016 World Championships.

The deciding heats will take place tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. local time/9:15 a.m. EST, following the opening two heats of men’s two-man bobsled at 10:30 a.m. local time/4:30 a.m. EST. Visit www.NBCSports.com/live for live streaming of the events, or tune in to Universal HD for same-day delay coverage.

 

Results
1. Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones (USA) 1:43.14 (51.60, 51.54);
2. Kallie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz (CAN) 1:43.16 (51.68, 51.48);
3. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans (USA) 1:43.19 (51.81, 51.38);
10. Brittany Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs (USA) 1:43.74 (52.11, 51.63);

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