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Skeletons with strong bones

Shauna Farnell

The TV cameras have trouble keeping up with skeleton racers. There have to be many above the track in different places to capture each flick as a racer speeds by.

When you’re watching a skeleton race and you see the racer on track move her legs, you feel very sure she’ll lose one of them going around the next 80 mph bend. Miraculously, she doesn’t.

Tonight I asked Katie Uhlaender to tell me the most common injury in her sport.



She paused for a minute.

“Death?” I offered.

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No, she said.

Neck injuries. She said any time a slider makes contact with the walls of ice (inside of which she transforms into a human cannon ball) it always results in a very sore neck. It doesn’t matter if it’s a foot, an arm or a shoulder. Any brush on the wall strains the neck first and foremost.

I still think she meant to say death.



She said sliders (that’s what they call themselves) move their legs because control of the sled is limited to subtle movements, and slight movements of the legs help to drive the sled down the walls and into the middle of the track.

Maya Pedersen, the woman who won Thursday’s Olympic skeleton race, is 33 years old. This was her second Olympics. She started racing skeleton in 1995.Uhlaender was 10 years old then and thought skeleton was a good Halloween costume. For someone who didn’t know a skeleton race from a Nightmare on Elm Street just four years ago, I’d say sixth place in the Olympics is unreal for our Breck girl. Bravo, Katie.

I got up this morning to the luscious site of golf-ball-sized snowflakes falling out of the sky. While the clear, sunny days have been wonderful, if I hadn’t been watching competitions involving skiers and snowboarders all this time, I would have forgotten which season it was.

Unfortunately, the snowfall stopped after about an hour and the trace it left on the ground was promptly gobbled up by the mud pits. Snow is still in the forecast, though. I know it’s not good for the race courses and makes a lot of work for a lot of people around here, but I’m still hoping for a white Olympics … at least for a day or two.


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