DALY AND HENRY SWEEP PARK CITY NORTH AMERICAN CUP RACES
PARK CITY, Utah (January 28, 2020) – USA Skeleton athletes earned 11 out of 18 available medals in a three-race North American Cup series on the 2002 Olympic track in Park City this week. John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) swept the men’s and women’s races, respectively, to lead the medal haul. Combined with the performances by USA Bobsled athletes, Team USA claimed 40 medals in the Park City event.
This is the first time many of the U.S. team members have been back on ice since team trials in November. Henry said she started to wonder if she’d forgotten to slide after some time away from the track, and she felt “relieved, excited, and anxious to come and slide in Park City.”
“It was nice to regroup with my teammates and staff and have a strong showing for the U.S. here,” Henry said.
“It’s amazing that the Utah Olympic Park and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation have been able to coordinate and host a successful race series in a pandemic,” Daly said. “Hats off to them.”
Daly came out of a three-year retirement to win this season’s national team selection races. In order to become eligible to compete on the World Cup circuit Daly must meet the international federation’s 5-3-2 rule, which requires athletes to compete in five international races on at least three tracks within two seasons. His last international race prior to this week was at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018.
In the first men’s skeleton race on Tuesday, Daly won by almost half a second with a total time of 1:38.47. Daniel Barefoot (Johnstown, Pa.) was only 0.04 seconds behind Daly after the opening heat, putting pressure on the three-time Olympian. Barefoot secured the silver medal with a combined time of 1:38.93.
“While I tried not to have any expectations for how this season would play out, I certainly did not expect the events that unfolded,” Barefoot said. “But like the coaches have been saying, it has offered an opportunity for us to build a level of resilience as athletes, which may even be a more valuable lesson than we anticipated. My personal focus this year has been fine-tuning my mental approach to sliding each day, especially with my time being spent at home tracks. Finally getting back to racing has been a blast. It’s so awesome to see everyone making progress and throwing down some great times. “
Brendan Doyle from Ireland finished third in 1:39.53. Chris Strup (Defiance, Ohio) and Mike Rogals (Orwell, Vt.) finished fifth and sixth with cumulative times of 1:39.61 and 1:40.07.
“It’s amazing how fast Dan Barefoot, Chris Strup, and Mike Rogals have gotten,” Daly said. “They really pushed me this week.”
Daly was again victorious on day two, but not without a fight. Barefoot was the first heat leader with a downtime of 49.47 seconds. Daly rallied back in the second heat with the fastest time of 49.17 seconds to claim gold in 1:38.68. Barefoot was the repeat silver medalist in 1:39.08. Doyle claimed bronze again, this time in 1:39.08.
Strup narrowly missed completing an American sweep of the medals. He finished fourth in 1:39.41. Kyler Sultemeier (Fredericksburg, Texas) finished seventh in his first international race of the season.
Daly earned his third-consecutive win today with an aggregate time of 1:39.56, followed by Doyle in second in 1:40.11 and Canadian Blake Enzie in third with a combined time of 1:40.58. Barefoot did not race today.
“The races felt great,” Daly said. “The last day I finally had a very good run, but it did take all week to get the feeling back. This was my first time working with Caleb Smith and Lauri Bausch as coaches. Caleb’s knowledge is second to none, and he took the time twice this week after sessions to go over lines, which helped me solidify my wins.
Strup finished fourth in 1:40.65. Rogals was sixth with a two-run total of 1:41.49, and Sultemeier clocked 1:42.80 for eighth place.
Henry swept the women’s skeleton races in U.S. trials, but she is one of many athletes and coaches that did not travel to Europe for the World Cup tour. Henry is a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), and the Army did not sign off on letting soldiers in the WCAP program travel for competition due to concerns with rising COVID-19 cases around the world. Henry is instead racing the North American Cup circuit to maintain her qualification for next season.
“The Army was really careful with all of its athletes and taking necessary precautions to mitigate risk, which I am thankful for, but it has been mentally challenging knowing my teammates and competitors are overseas competing without me,” Henry said. “Initially it was really stressful because I was not allowed to enter these races based on last season’s rank, which means I potentially would be unable to qualify for the Games. Luckily the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation waived that and allowed me to enter.”
Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) posted the fastest run of 50.28 seconds in Tuesday’s first heat, but Henry responded in the second heat with a time of 50.45 seconds to surpass Graybill by 0.06 seconds for the win. Henry took gold with a two-run total of 1:40.80, followed by Graybill with a silver medal in 1:40.86.
“After nearly two months off from racing, it feels great to get back to it,” Graybill said. “Though the past year has been challenging, I’m looking to use this season to truly focus on what practices work best for me and to try new things in a race environment. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m really pleased with my race runs and the progress I made. I set new personal bests and feel like I have my confidence back on this track after three years away from it.”
Mystique Ro (Nokesville, Va.) completed an American sweep of the medals on day one with a total time of 1:41.25. Leah Fair (Gaffney, S.C.), season 3 winner of “The Next Olympic Hopeful,” was the fourth competitor for the U.S. women, and she clocked a combined time of 1:46.52 to finish eighth.
Henry was dominant yesterday, earning her second victory with a total time of 1:41.03. Canadian Madison Charney took silver in 1:41.42, and Ro claimed her second bronze medal of the series with a time of 1:41.58.
Graybill was in second place after the first heat, but she dropped three spots in the second run. She finished fifth with a cumulative time of 1:41.73. Rookie athlete Isabella Burns (Southwick, Mass.) raced to the finish in 1:45.86 for ninth place.
Henry was golden again today in the final women’s race of the Park City series. She completed her sweep with the fastest runs of the competition for a total time of 1:41.65. Charney of Canada secured silver in 1:42.26, while Leslie Stratton from Sweden was third in 1:43.02.
Fair, Burns, and first-timer Erin Brumley (Fort Worth, Texas) finished 8-9-10. Fair was eighth with a combined time of 1:47.69, followed by Burns in ninth with a 1:48.63, and Brumley in 10th with a 1:50.56.
The skeleton races conclude the Park City event, and the tour moves on to another home track for the American team in Lake Placid, N.Y. Bobsled races are scheduled to begin on February 1st, and skeleton athletes begin competing on February 5th.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Men’s skeleton #1
1. John Daly (USA) 1:38.47 (49.19, 49.28);
2. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:38.93 (49.23, 49.70);
3. Brendan Doyle (IRL) 1:39.53 (49.74, 49.79);
5. Chris Strup (USA) 1:39.61 (49.71, 49.90);
6. Mike Rogals (USA) 1:40.07 (49.78, 50.29);
Men’s skeleton #2
1. John Daly (USA) 1:38.68 (49.51, 49.17);
2. Daniel Barefoot (USA) 1:39.08 (49.47, 49.61);
3. Brendan Doyle (USA) 1:39.08 (49.73, 49.35);
4. Chris Strup (USA) 1:39.41 (49.58, 49.83);
7. Kyler Sultemeier (USA) 1:40.43);
Men’s skeleton #3
1. John Daly (USA) 1:39.56 (49.86, 49.70);
2. Brendan Doyle (IRL) 1:40.11 (50.36, 49.75);
3. Blake Enzie (CAN) 1:40.58 (50.42, 50.16);
4. Chris Strup (USA) 1:40.65 (50.42, 50.23);
6. Mike Rogals (USA) 1:41.49 (51.00, 50.49);
8. Kyler Sultemeier (USA) 1:42.80 (51.53, 51.27);
Women’s skeleton #1
1. Megan Henry (USA) 1:40.80 (50.35, 50.45);
2. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:40.86 (50.28, 50.59);
3. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:41.25 (50.59, 50.66);
8. Leah Fair (USA) 1:46.52 (52.99, 53.53);
Women’s skeleton #2
1. Megan Henry (USA) 1:41.03 (50.56, 50.47);
2. Madison Charney (CAN) 1:41.42 (50.87, 50.55);
3. Mystique Ro (USA) 1:41.58 (51.01, 50.57);
5. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:41.73 (50.67, 51.06);
9. Isabella Burns (USA) 1:45.86 (53.23, 52.63);
Women’s skeleton #3
1. Megan Henry (USA) 1:41.65 (51.20, 50.45);
2. Madison Charney (CAN) 1:42.26 (51.70, 50.56);
3. Leslie Stratton (SWE) 1:43.02 (51.78, 51.24);
8. Leah Fair (USA) 1:47.69 (54.37, 53.32);
9. Isabella Burns (USA) 1:48.63 (54.66, 53.97);
10. Erin Brumley (USA) 1:50.56 (55.93, 54.63);
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.
Source: Amanda Bird Team USA