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Mystique Ro earns skeleton gold | News, Sports, Jobs

Team USA’s Mystique Ro won skeleton gold Thursday at Mount Van Hoevenberg during the IBSF World Cup.
(Provided photo — IBSF)

LAKE PLACID — Team USA’s Mystique Ro recorded her first-ever World Cup win in the women’s skeleton event on Thursday, the opening day of the IBSF World Cup, at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

The win marked the first World Cup victory by an American skeleton athlete in eight years. Ro won her first-ever World Cup race in a two-run time of 1 minute, 50.35 seconds.

Team USA’s Katie Uhlaender just missed the podium, placing fourth in 1:50.61. Sara Roderick was ninth in 1:51.24 while Michelle Toukan placed 26th.

Belgium’s Kim Meylemans finished in second place in 1:50.37 and the Netherlands’ Kimberley Bos was third in 1:50.55.

Bos secured the women’s skeleton World Cup overall title for the second time since 2022. The 2022 Olympic bronze medalist scored 1,570 points in the eight races of the season. Meylemans came second overall with 1,364 points. Italy’s Valentina Margaglio finished in third place overall with 1,270 points after a sixth place on Thursday.

Team USA’s Austin Florian competes in Thursday’s men’s skeleton event during the IBSF World Cup at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. He finished in 10th place but became the first Pan-American champion in IBSF history. The World Cup continues today with the two-woman and four-man bobsled events.(Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

Ro was eighth overall in the standings with 1,175 points, Uhlaender finished 15th with 816 and Roderick placed 23rd with 534.

At the same time Thursday, Ro became the first athlete in IBSF history to secure the title of Pan-American Champion in women’s skeleton, as the season finale also counted as a continental championship for the athletes from North, Central and South America in a race-in-race classification. Pan-American silver was secured by Uhlaender, while bronze went to Roderick.

Men’s skeleton

This photo from Thursday’s men’s skeleton event during the IBSF World Cup at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid shows, from left, Amedeo Bagnis, Italy, bronze; Zheng Yin, China, gold; and Marcus Wyatt, Great Britain, silver.
(Provided photo — IBSF)

On the men’s side, Austin Florian led U.S. sliders with a 10th-place finish in a two-run time of 1:48.32.

Florian, a Clarkson University graduate from Southington, Connecticut, got off to a rough start in his opening run, dropping him to 16th place, heading into the second run. However, he recorded the sixth-fastest second run to place 10th.

“It was snowing and it tends to make the ice a little sticky,” he said. “In the groove, I kind of got stood up and the sled kind of held me back and I got off balance. I just made one critical mistake down low and it cost me. The second run I fixed those. I had a pretty good run and I was happy with it.”

Team USA was rounded out by Daniel Barefoot in 16th place in 1:48.96 and Hunter Williams in 23rd at 1:49.57.

China’s Zheng Yin was first in 1:46.97, Great Britain’s Marcus Wyatt was second in 1:47.01 and Italy’s Amedeo Bagnis was third in 1:47.34.

China’s Zheng Yin competes in Thursday’s men’s skeleton World Cup event in Lake Placid.
(Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

In the overall standings, Great Britain’s Matt Weston, who placed fourth on Thursday, overtook the previous leader, Germany’s Christopher Grotheer, to win the overall World Cup victory. Weston closed out the season with 1,523 points while Grotheer had 1,494. Yin placed third overall with 1,453 points.

Ukraine’s Vladyslav Heraskevych — who was a guest speaker at Tuesday’s memorial service in the Olympic Center for USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld, who died Jan. 10 at age 68 — celebrated his best World Cup result in Lake Placid in fourth place — tied with Weston. The 25-year-old was just 0.20 seconds off a first ever World Cup podium finish for Ukraine in the sport of skeleton.

Florian was the top U.S. men’s slider, finishing the season in 15th place overall with 592 points. He capped off the season with three back-to-back top-10 finishes.

“It’s been a pretty good season,” Florian said. “I’ve had some top results on tracks that have historically been an issue for me. But I’m pushing some of the fastest in the world right now and driving some of the best I’ve ever had. I’m pretty happy with the season.”

Barefoot placed 21st overall with 499 points and Hunter Williams was 32nd with 150.

On Thursday, Florian became the first Pan-American champion in IBSF history. As with the European Championships, the final of the 2023/2024 BMW IBSF World Cup also counted as a continental championship for athletes from North, Central and South America in a race-in-race classification. Barefoot secured silver in the men’s skeleton ahead of Williams, who took the bronze.

The IBSF World Cup continued on Friday with the women’s monobob event and two-man bobsled. Today will be the two-woman and the four-man event, starting at 10 a.m.

(Editor/Publisher Andy Flynn contributed to this report.)

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