Utah Guard's Shauna Rohbock

Takes Bobsled Gold in World Cup Competition in Italy

 

By Amanda Bird

 

Published December 6, 2009

 

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SGT Shauna Rohbock, right, and her teammate, Michelle Rzepka, teamed up to win the two-man bobsled World Cup competition Dec. 5.

Photo courtesy of universalsports.com

SGT Shauna Rohbock, right, and her teammate, Michelle Rzepka, teamed up to win the two-man bobsled World Cup competition Dec. 5.

CESANA, Italy — The U.S. women’s bobsled team is on its way to qualifying three sleds in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games after all three drivers finished in the top six standings in Cesana, Italy’s World Cup competition today.

Shauna Rohbock, a sergeant in the Utah Army National Guard, has been chasing the elusive gold medal on the 2006 Olympic track, and finally sunk her teeth into a victory today.

“It only took me four years to finally get it,” said Rohbock. “Beating the Germans by this much just doesn’t happen, so it definitely feels good.”

Rohbock teamed with Michelle Rzepka to not just win the competition, but to dominate the field of 21 sleds by 0.34 seconds with a combined time of 1:56.09 in a sport that’s won by hundredths of a second.

Rohbock’s sliding resume on the Cesana track includes three silver medals, including the 2006 Olympic silver medal. The gold escaped her until today.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” said Rohbock. “My first run felt good, but I knew I finally won during my second run. It felt pretty awesome.”

The Olympian navigated her Bodyn sled down the course in 57.96 and 58.13 seconds for the fastest runs of the competition. Rohbock and Rzepka teamed together to give the sled momentum at the start, pushing times of 5.22 and 5.21 seconds.

“We have a good problem on our team with such a strong field of brakeman,” said Rohbock. “My cadence is simple, so it’s easy for athletes to switch into my sled and follow my timing at the start.”

Shauna Rohbock, right, and her brakeman compete in the Women's bobsled event in Calgary last year.

Photo by Charlie Booker, bobseld.teamusa.org

Shauna Rohbock, right, and her brakeman compete

in the Women's bobsled event in Calgary last year.

Germany’s Cathleen Martini teamed with Romy Logsch for the silver medal with a combined time of 1:56.09 after sliding runs of 58.10 and 58.33 seconds. In third was reigning Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis who teamed with Berit Wiacker for a total time of 1:56.45 (58.03, 58.42).

Erin Pac almost made it onto the podium today, finishing fifth with a two-run total of 1:56.58. Pac and push athlete Elana Meyers teamed together for a first run push time of 5.17 seconds for a run of 58.23 seconds, placing the duo in seventh.

Pac and Meyers powered off the block with another exceptional start time of 5.19 seconds in the final heat on their way to a finish time of 58.35 seconds. Their second run was enough to move the team up two positions into fifth place.

Bree Schaaf competed on the Cesana track as a World Cup skeleton athlete, but drove the course in a bobsled for the first time this week. Schaaf teamed with Emily Azevedo to finish sixth with a two-run total of 1:56.70.

Schaaf and Azevedo pushed start times of 5.30 and 5.29 seconds for finish times of 58.27 and 58.43 seconds, respectively.

“I am really proud of the team,” said U.S. head coach Sepp Plozza. “Shauna’s win was great and we were hoping she could do it today. Erin and Bree continue to prove they are in the mix with the best drivers in the world, and we are in a good position going into next week.”

Former Utah Guardsman Steve Holcomb also took gold in Cesana in the Men's four-man bobsled competition.