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Rohbock Hopes for Great Bobsled Runs

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 24, 2010 – As the women’s bobsledding events approached at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Army Sgt. Shauna Rohbock said she wasn’t ready for what she was about to experience.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. Shauna Rohbock of the Utah National Guard is competing in the women’s bobsledding event at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“This track is so fast,” said Rohbock, who is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. “You can’t prepare for this kind of speed, because there’s nowhere else in the world like this.”

Rohbock, who is ranked as one of the top female bobsledders in the world, had been training on the track since Feb. 20 in preparation for her Olympic runs, which began with the first two heats last night. The intense speeds of the track already had broken a few records, “so I can’t imagine what we’re going to do on race day,” Rohbock said. It’s the same track that led to the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during a training run.

Rohbock, who took the silver medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, expressed concern over the track when she first tested it out two years ago, saying that she felt the course was too fast, especially with the tight turns toward the end.

“I think the problem here is the curves are back-to-back in the bottom,” she said. “They are really close, and with the speed, and having them back-to-back, as soon as you get in trouble it just multiplies, and then it's trouble."

Rohbock and her team took precautions during their training runs, such as pushing the sled off the start at a slower pace and using a heavier grit to sand the runners on the sled, to try to mitigate some of the high speeds at the end of the course.

Bobsledders also got extra training time to familiarize themselves with the track.

“I run this track through my mind constantly, wondering how I can do this better, how can I get this right,” Rohbock said. “Corner 4-5 is going to haunt me before I get back on the track.”

But despite the pressures of a fast, challenging course, Rohbock said, she doesn’t feel the added pressure of winning a medal during this year’s games.

“Actually, I feel like I got that monkey off my back in 2006,” she said. “I’ve already won my medal. I just want to go and have four great runs and be happy with my performance in the end.”

This also may be the last Olympics for Rohbock, who said she may continue to compete in the sport for the next few years, and then move on to other endeavors. But for now, her main concern centers on the next bobsled run.

“If it comes out that it’s a medal, that’s great, but I don’t want to have the ‘coulda, shoulda, wouldas’ in the end and be like, ‘I could have done that a little bit better,’” she said.

After last night’s heats, Rohbock’s USA 1 team was tied for sixth place. The remaining heats in the women’s bobsledding competition are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. PST today.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

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Related Sites:
Special Report: Military Olympians

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