LAKE PLACID – The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation Parasport World Cup opened its season with a two-day para-bobsleigh event at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid on Monday.
The event showcased some of the best para-bobsleighs in the world representing seven different nations.
The United States, led by Robert “Bob” Balk, managed to win three medals, including a gold, silver and bronze medal, in the two-day running event.
On the first day of the World Cup race, Balk won his first medal – a gold medal. Balk, 55, finished the race with a total time of two minutes and 0.7 seconds.
Balk said he was proud of his performance.
“This is my first year,” said Balk. “I just started sliding and have only been sliding for a year. I only slipped here (at Mount Van Hoevenberg).
In the first round of Balk, he came to fly on the track. He clocked a time of 1: 00.21, which was the fastest qualifying time of the entire event.
Balk said he was afraid to go down the track.
“It’s very fast and everything comes to you very quickly” said Balk. “If you don’t think so, you can crash and I’ve crashed here several times.”
Balk continued her first run by tying the second fastest run with Briton Corie Mapp in a time of 1: 00.49.
Mapp, who finished the first heat with the second fastest time, won a silver medal on Monday. He finished with a total time of 2: 01.03.
Switzerland’s Christopher Stewart was the bronze medalist with a total time of 2: 01.12. Stewart was closely behind Mapp’s times in both runs, but ultimately finished 0.09 seconds behind Mapp’s time.
American bobsledders Steven Jacobo (2: 02.23) and Guillermo “Will” Castillo (2: 02.28) finished seventh and eighth respectively.
On the second day of racing, a new champion was crowned.
Spain’s Israel Blanco claimed his first World Cup victory in Tuesday’s race with a total time of 2: 01.16.
After finishing the first run with the second fastest time, Blanco managed to secure the victory by finishing with the fastest time of the second run.
Blanco, who finished Monday’s race in fourth place, increased his total time by 0.70 seconds to win the gold medal.
American Jacobo also had a better second day of racing. He finished with a total time of 2: 01.42 for the silver medal.
His teammate Balk was closely following Jacobo. Balk finished the second race with a time of 2: 01.47 to win the bronze medal.
The third American slider, Castillo, finished the second race in sixth place.
The Para-Bobsleigh World Cup continues its season with the next race taking place in Park City, Utah, December 5-6.