Jacqueline Loelling, the reigning world champion of Germany, leads the women’s skeleton competition after the first two runs in 1:43.86. She’s 0.02 seconds ahead of Austria’s Janine Flock, and 0.10 seconds ahead of defending gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold of Great Britain.
Yarnold is trying to make history. No woman that has ever medaled in the skeleton has ever come back to win another Olympic medal, but after Runs 1 and 2 in the women’s skeleton in PyeongChang, the defending gold medalist can change that. She is in third after the first two runs and is poised to bring home her second medal, even if it’s not gold.
If Austria’s Flock can remain in the top three over the final two runs, she would become the first woman to win a medal for Austria in PyeongChang.
Americans katie Uhlaender and Kendall Wesenberg were 12th and 17th after Runs 1 and 2. Uhlaender, 0.77 seconds out of third, would need a miraculous second day of competition to jump into medal contention.
Yarnold set the track record on her first run to take the lead, but struggled on the second run. If she can finish in the top three, she would become the first woman to win a medal in back-to-back Games in the skeleton — needless to say, she would be the first to win two consecutive golds. She’s only two runs away from making history.
Uhlaender is making her fourth Olympic appearance. She was fourth in Sochi by a heartbreaking 0.04 seconds, and is looking to finish on the podium in PyeongChang. It should be noted that Sochi Bronze Medalist Elena Nikitina of Russia was stripped of her medal for doping, so Uhlaender is in line for bronze.
Her first run wasn’t what she was hoping for — her 52.33 put her in eighth place — but it didn’t ruin her chances at a medal. Unfortunately for Uhlaender, her second run may have.
Wesenberg, making first Olympic appearance, got off to a rough start. From the top of the hill she couldn’t find the right line and lost more and more time the further she slid down the course. She finished the run in 17th, 0.96 seconds out of medal contention, essentially ending her shot at a medal afte the first run.
The competition concludes on Saturday with Runs 3 and 4. You can watch a live stream of the conclusion of the event here.