5 January 2014

Kiriasis receives late birthday present win

Sandra Kiriasis of Germany turned 39 yesterday bidding for her fourth Oympics having won gold in 2006 and silver when the women made their bobsleigh debut in 2002. With her age she is giving some start time to the younger athletes but what she makes up in start speed she make up from here experience with driving.

In the first run Kallie Humphries of Canada had set a track record start time of 5.51, Kiriasis and her brakewoman Franziska Fritz had given then a quarter of a second at the end of those first 50m. But by the end of the run they were 0.05 ahead enough to put them in third place.

There was another American pair driven by the Olympic bronze medalist from Vancouver in 2010 Elana Meyers, which had pushed Kiriasis out of the medals, who was sitting in fifth after the first run that was going to first major move within the top five. With top class hurdler Lolo Jones as her brakewoman she got off to a flying on the second run. 5.52 only just behind the start record set by Humphries in the first run and she drove flawlessly to record a time of 57.52secs at the finish, some 0.24 seconds that the fastest run in the first heat.

Sandra Kiriasis in action today Picture captured from IBSF Live stream
Humpries came next but was unable to capitalise on another fast start. She ended up 0.21 secs slower over all. Kiriasis was the next down the track, the 0.07 second advantage she had over Meyers was wiped out in the start giving up 0.17secs at the top. But it was Kiriasis driving that slowly eeked away at that lead keeping the momentum through all the tough curves but it wasn't until the very last bend that she over took Meyers and that just at the line by 0.01secs.

Anja Schneiderheinze of Germany looked like she might be able to steer her way to the win but lost her smoothness at the bottom of the run, being up at the penultimate check point but with her speed down to come in 0.07secs back on Kiriasis. The leader from the first run Jamie Gruebel from the USA was the last person who could affect proceedings, but while she too gained time at the top of the circuit it was in turns 9 and 10 that she made errors that would eventually not only cost her the win but also a place on the podium, despite posting exactly the same time as her leading time from heat 1.

Final result

1. Sandra Kiriasis/ Franziska Fritz GER 57.83 + 57.58 = 1:55.41
2. Elana Meyers/ Lolo Jones USA 57.90 + 57.52 = 1:55.42 +0.01
3. Anja Schneiderheinze/ Stephanie Scheider GER 57.79 + 57.69 = 1:55.48 +0.07
4. Jamie Gruebel/ Aja Evans USA 57.76 + 57.76 = 1:55.52 +0.11
5. Kallie Humphries/ Heather Moyse CAN 57.88 + 57.75 = 1:55.63 +0.22

World Cup standings

1. Meyers USA 1080 pts
2. Humphries CAN 1012
3. Gruebel USA 1002
4. Kiriasis GER 889
5. Cathleen Martini GER 872
6. Jazmine Fenlator USA 850
7. Schneiderheinze GER 784
8. Caroline Spahni SWI 784

You can catch up on the action on YouTube heat 1 and heat 2

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