Breck’s Uhlaender 13th at World Championships
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. ” World Cup skeleton champion Marion Trott of Germany broke the track record. American Katie Uhlaender just tried to soothe her broken heart.
Only moments after Trott set the record on her first run Thursday in the world championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg, Uhlaender finished nearly a second slower, virtually eliminating herself from medal competition in the four-heat event.
After a better second run, Uhlaender walked away from the finish line in tears, mired in 13th place and searching for her brother.
That Uhlaender was even competing is a testament of her dedication to her dad, who died two weeks ago of bone marrow cancer and was buried only last week. He was her biggest fan and encouraged her to keep competing while he was undergoing two stem-cell transplants during the past year.
“She has had a really rough time,” U.S. teammate Noelle Pikus-Pace said, fighting back her own tears. “She put down a great second run and just before she had tears in her eyes. She’s doing a great job keeping it together, staying focused and being here, being a team player. Everybody can see how hard of a time it’s been for her. We’re with her.”
Uhlaender finished third overall in World Cup and won a silver medal in Park City, Utah, on the day 68-year-old Ted Uhlaender died back home on the family ranch in Kansas.
“She went home for the funeral to support her family,” Pikus-Pace said. “She’s the glue in her family. I don’t even think that (competing here) was a question in her mind. She knew what she had to do. This is where her dad wanted her to be.”
Trott was the first to slide and turned every head in the start house with a run of 55.45 seconds. That was more than a half-second faster than the previous mark of 56.17 seconds set in October by Pikus-Pace.
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