Breckenridge’s Uhlaender places sixth in Olympic skeleton competition
In the early morning hours on Saturday, Breckenridge resident Katie Uhlaender returned for the finale of the women’s skeleton competition at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
On Thursday, two days prior, Uhlaender, alongside fellow American, Kelly Curtis, competed in the first two heats of the women’s competition. After the first two heats, Uhlaender sat in eighth place while Curtis finished in 21st.
After the third heat of the competition Saturday morning, the field of 25 women was reduced to the top 20 for the fourth and final heat.
Curtis had her slowest run of the competition, finishing the course in 1:03.24, which put her on the bubble to make it into the final heat.
However, the last few competitors moved ahead of Curtis, bumping her into 21st place and out of the final heat in her first Olympic Games. Curtis finished with a combined time of 3:09.23.
Uhlaender, on the other hand, added another solid run to combine with the two she had on Thursday. Uhlaender’s third run was her best so far this competition. She was clocked at 1:02.15 to combine for a total time of 3:07.02.
Uhlaender was not flawless on her run as she did have one high transition, but she made up for it with a couple solid transitions toward the bottom of the course. Uhlaender’s performance was enough for her to move into seventh place going into the final heat with the podium about a half second ahead of her.
Going into the final heat, Uhlaender most likely needed to dip under 62 seconds in order to move into a medal position. Uhlaender had another consistent performance on her final run as she executed on clean lines and turns to finish the course in 1:02.21, which was her second best time this competition.
Uhlaender finished with a combined time of 4:09.23, which put her at the top of the competition while the remaining six riders performed their last runs.
Uhlaender ended up being displaced by the final five riders and finished in sixth place.
Uhlaender’s sixth place finish marks a full-circle moment for the 37-year-old skeleton athlete in perhaps her final Olympics. In these Games, she matched where she placed in her first Olympics in Torino, Italy, when she was 22.
Hannah Neise topped the competition capturing gold for Germany. Australian Jaclyn Narracott took silver and Kimberley Bos from the Netherlands took bronze.
Neise finished with a combined time of 4:07.62 which was 0.62 seconds in front of Narracott in second and 1.61 seconds ahead of Uhlaender.