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Uhlaender now has time to grieve

February 27, 2009 |  5:36 pm

Katie Uhlaender of Breckenridge, Colo., ended the women's World Cup skeleton standings third overall, a terrific achievement under any circumstances and one that marks her as a medal contender in the Vancouver Olympics.

Her placement is especially praiseworthy because she competed much of the season knowing that her father, former Major League outfielder Ted Uhlaender, was seriously ill. He died Feb. 12 of multiple myeloma just before she won a silver medal in the final World Cup race of the season.

On Friday she finished seventh in the skeleton World Championships at Lake Placid, N.Y., and hugged her brothers immediately after the race.

"This season was probably one of the hardest seasons I've had to deal with, and this race was the first reality that my father is gone because he never would have missed this race," Uhlaender told officials of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

"I screwed up the first heat yesterday because I felt like he was going to show up and I looked up and he wasn't there. Then I broke down."

Two of her brothers, Scott and Will, stood by her side as she spoke to the media.

"It helped to have my brothers here," she said. "I think I'm more excited for next season because I know that's what my dad was focused on."

She said she will return to the family's farm in Atwood, Kan., to help sort through her father's belongings.

"I'd like to go home to rest and mourn," she said. "It's only been two weeks, and it's hard knowing that he's not going to be back."

Germany's Marion Trott won the women's world title at the Lake Placid track with a combined time of 3 minutes, 47.97 seconds. Trott also was the World Cup champion.

--Helene Elliott