U.S. bobsledders Shauna Rohbock and Elana Meyers are in the lead after today's first two runs of the World Bobsled Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.
They won the second run by 6/100ths of a second to take an even more miniscule lead (4/100ths) over Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke of Great Britain into the final two runs Saturday.
The U.S. performance is not surprising, given Rohbock's strong driving all season and the home-ice advantage.
Rohbock, an Olympic silver medalist in 2006 with Valerie Fleming as her pusher, skipped the World Cup race in Utah last week to maximize that advantage by taking more runs at Lake Placid.
"We're on the track here in October, and it's usually warm and rainy, and the ice is soft, so we don't really get to see the track prepared the way it is for worlds or a World Cup until January or February,'' Rohbock said before the worlds. "So it's kind of a new track for us as well until that time.
"Coming back here and missing that World Cup, we actually got to see the track like it's going to be for worlds, and I feel like that is going to give us the help we need to bring home medals at the world championship.''
It's a track that makes many sledders nervous, said leading U.S. men's driver Steve Holcomb, whose two-man competition begins Saturday.
"The track is very difficult, with a lot of tricky spots,'' Holcomb said. "One of the biggest players here is confidence going down the track. A lot of people get scared of the track. Having more runs here than anybody, we don’t have those nerves but more of competition nerves. It's a huge home-track advantage.''
-- Philip Hersh
Photo: Elana Meyers jumps into sled with driver Shauna Rohbock at today's start. Credit: Mike Groll / Associated Press