US skeleton star Katie Uhlaender heading to 4th Olympics
AP Sports Writer
Katie Uhlaender is going to the Olympics for the fourth time, still looking for her first medal.
That is, unless she’s seeking a second.
Uhlaender was nominated Monday to the U.S. Olympic skeleton team for the Pyeongchang Games, making her the first American to be a four-timer in that sport. John Daly is headed to the games for a third time, 2014 bronze medalist Matt Antoine is going for a second time and Kendall Wesenberg will be making her Olympic debut.
“This is an experienced and talented group of athletes selected to the skeleton team and each is capable of bringing home a medal,” USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele said. “These four athletes have overcome many challenges over the last quad and have risen above them time after time. They have grit and are determined to lay it on the line and give it all they’ve got in Korea, so we expect big things.”
Uhlaender finished fourth at the Sochi Games four years ago. The bronze medalist from that competition, Russia’s Elena Nikitina, had her medal stripped and her eligibilty for future Olympics revoked because of doping violations. What was Nikitina’s medal will likely be reallocated at some point, and that means it would go to Uhlaender — but that hasn’t yet happened.
So for now, Uhlaender may arrive in South Korea unsure if she’s a medalist or not.
“I know if I do my best and show up, that’s all I can do,” Uhlaender said. “I will be doing all I can to make sure I am at my best for Korea.”
Uhlaender was sixth at the 2006 Olympics and 11th at the 2010 Olympics.
The Americans got two medals in Sochi, with now-retired Noelle Pikus-Pace winning silver in the women’s race and Antoine taking bronze in the men’s event. That total would go to three when, or if, Uhlaender finally gets her bronze.
Getting even one in Pyeongchang looks like it’ll be a challenge for the U.S.
No American has medaled in any World Cup race this season. Uhlaender’s best World Cup finish this season is seventh, Wesenberg’s is eighth, and neither is in the top 10 of the women’s rankings for the season. Uhlaender is 14th in World Cup points, one spot ahead of Wesenberg.
On the men’s side, Antoine is ranked eighth and Daly is ranked 16th this season.
The women’s skeleton competition in Pyeongchang is Feb. 15-16, with the men’s event Feb. 16-17.