Prahm, Flowers tie Germans for bobsled gold

Updated: November 18, 2005, 6:01 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Americans Jean Prahm and Vonetta Flowers tied Germany's Sandra Kiriasis and Anja Schneiderheinze at a bobsled World Cup competition Friday, only the second time in the last 24 World Cup races someone other than Germans won on the circuit.

And on both those occasions, the winners have been Prahm and Flowers. They won at St. Moritz last year, ending a 20-race winning streak in World Cup races by German drivers.

Both teams finished in 1:56.06; Americans Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming were third, 0.31 seconds back.

"Gold and a bronze medal. Not a bad way to start the season," U.S. coach Bill Tavares said.

Prahm and Flowers were only 0.02 seconds behind Kiriasis and Schneiderheinze after the first heat. The Americans went next to last in the second run, put up a time of 58.16 seconds, then huddled around a television to see the final slide.

And when the German time was posted, Prahm and Flowers whooped, hugged and thrust arms into the air.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see how close we were after the first heat," said Prahm, who drove her sled within 0.02 seconds of the German sled's time after the opening run. "That speaks volumes because they are amazing. They have an amazing team and to be anywhere near them, I was blown away."

The U.S. had four sleds in the field. After Prahm-Flowers and Rohbock-Fleming, the team of Jill Bakken and Amanda Moreley finished eighth, and Sara Sprung and Bethany Hart placed 13th. And depth is creating an interesting race for the two American sleds that'll slide at the Turin Games this February.

"That's a really a positive thing," Bakken said. "That's a huge strength."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press