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Katie Uhlaender traveled to the Beijing Games after becoming the fifth American Olympic skeleton team

There are now six Olympic women’s skeleton teams in the United States. Katie Uhlaender has made five of them.

Uhlaender officially became the first American from a sliding sport to make five Olympic teams after being named to Saturday’s three-man roster that will travel to the Beijing Games.

It is the smallest team the Americans have nominated in skeleton since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 2002 after a hiatus of more than half a century. Uhlaender will be joined by two Olympic rookies: Kelly Curtis on the women’s side and Andrew Blaser as the only qualifier on the men’s side.

They were given the floor on Saturday morning at a team meeting in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the site of this weekend’s World Cup finals for skeleton and bobsleigh.

“USA Bobsled and Skeleton is incredibly proud of the three athletes nominated to represent Team USA in skeleton at the 2022 Olympics,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “It was a struggle to make the team and it came down to the very last race.”

The final race of the World Cup season took place on Friday morning and it was a race within a race – three American women vying for two Olympic spots, all with realistic chances of making the team.

Uhlaender had the best chance, followed by Megan Henry and then Curtis, who ended up needing the race of her life to make it to Beijing.

And that’s exactly what she got.

Curtis finished her first full World Cup season in a career-best sixth place, which was good enough to narrowly overtake Henry in the system the US used to determine their spots. Henry was 15th in the final.

Here’s a way of explaining how close it was: Curtis finished both of her runs on Saturday in 2 minutes, 18.87 seconds – and if she had finished in 2:18.99, Henry probably wouldn’t have been an eighth of a second slower been going to beijing.

The nomination of the three skeleton athletes brings the total number of US Sliders selected for the Beijing Games to 11, after an eight-man USA Luge team was announced earlier this week. All that remains is USA Bobsled, which is expected to announce its Olympic teams by Monday at the latest.

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