IGLS, Austria (AP) — U.S. Olympians Shauna Rohbock and Michelle Rzepka set the track record Friday while winning the final bobsled World Cup event of the season.
Rohbock drove her two-person sled to the finish in 53.47 seconds, lowering the record of 53.53 set earlier in the day by German driver Cathleen Martini. Their two-run time of 1:47.13 gave the Americans their second victory of the season.
“Martini has won every race she’s entered this season except for the two that I won,” Rohbock said. “The field is definitely competitive and it makes for some interesting races. I’m just glad I came out on top today.”
Martini and teammate Romy Logsch finished second in 1:47.44, and Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse grabbed third in 1:47.46.
Rohbock is considered one of the favorites to win gold at the Vancouver Olympics, after teaming with Valerie Fleming to finish second at the 2006 Winter Games. Rohbock has won 26 World Cup and four world championship medals during her career as a driver.
“I’ve been told that Valerie and I changed the face of bobsledding with our start times, and I’d like to think we really did have some part in increasing the competitiveness of the sport,” Rohbock said. “There was an era of great drivers that didn’t have fast push time, and then Valerie and I began breaking start records, which upped the game a little bit.”
Erin Pac and Elana Meyers were fourth Friday, and fellow Americans Bree Schaaf and Ingrid Marcum finished 13th. Pac and Meyers also are headed to the Vancouver Olympics, while Schaaf is going with Emily Azevedo.
Reigning Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis won the World Cup title with 1,608 points, while Humphries was second and Martini third.
All three U.S. drivers finished in the top 10, with Rohbock finishing fourth with 1,530 points. Pac finished sixth in the season-ending ranking, and Schaaf wound up ninth.
“Today was awesome,” Rohbock said. “Winning is always a confidence boost, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the World Cup season. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into next month.”