21 Jan 2014
BOBSLEIGH: The Australian bobsleigh squad were in Igls, Austria over the weekend for the final World Cup race of the Olympic qualification period.
“Pretty happy lot after finishing the qualification period for Sochi 29th on world ranking,” men’s pilot Heath Spence posted on Twitter.
Spence, who normally races with Duncan Harvey in the 2-man event, combined with Lucas Mata for this event on Saturday and finished in 23rd position.
The following day in the 4-man event, Spence combined with Mata, Bradley Prestige and Dustin MacPherson to finish in 25th position.
The 33-year-old saw the World Cup as an opportunity to reward members of the bobsleigh squad that have not had much sled time.
“The World Cup in Igls presents an opportunity to give loyal reserve athletes a chance to race on World Cup,” Spence said.
“An opportunity they would otherwise not have been afforded if we still required the points for qualification.”
Spence was using the race to identify areas where the team needed to improve before the Games.
“I am not expecting world beating results, however I am looking at making myself a better driver, giving the top guys a chance to freshen up before the Olympics and final selection, and to use the race as a benchmark to see what needs to be done in order to improve ahead of Sochi,” he said.
In the women’s event, Astrid Radjenovic and Jana Pittman, finished 13th in the 2-man bobsleigh event. The women finished their two runs in a combined time of 1:47.84 seconds, which was 1.56 seconds of the race winners Jamie Greubel and Lauryn Williams of the United States.
Williams, like Pittman is a track and field Olympian. She who won 4x100m relay gold on the track at the London Olympic Games and individual 100m silver at Athens 2004.
The Australian bobsleigh team travels to Konigssee in Germany for their final World Cup before the Olympic Games, which commence on the 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
It is anticipated the Bobsleigh Section of the 2014 Australian Olympic Team will be announced on Wednesday.