Pioneering 4-women bobsled teams compete in Park City

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PARK CITY — It's certainly not the easiest sport to watch in person, because the action goes by so quickly.

However, it's that speed that draws so many athletes to bobsled — and why, when it's going on, people seem to stop and watch.

Fans watching Saturday at Utah Olympic Park in Park City saw something no one has ever seen before.

You could tell right away Brittany Reinbolt was excited about this.

"It's awesome. "The main fact is that it's never been done before, like, in the history of the world,”" said Reinbolt, who is the pilot for Team USA's first ever 4-women bobsled team.

Her smile smile was a long as the track she was racing on.

"A couple of girls have driven with guys pushing them, but no one has ever competed (with) all four women," she said. "So, (I) hopped in a sled, talked some girls into it, and here we are making history.”

Team USA and Team Canada both had a 4-women’s team competing in a men’s North America Cup race, which is a step just below the World Cup circuit.

The women's teams were slower than the men's teams, but they didn't care. They didn't feel like they were competing against the men’s teams anyway, and the cheers from the crowd as they started and finished were just as loud.

Pioneering women's sports is kind of a huge movement right now. When we're at the line, we say, 'Like a girl!' before we go, which is pretty fun.

–Leslie Stratton, Team USA 4-woman bobsled

For now, the two women’s teams are content competing against each other.

"Pioneering women's sports is kind of a huge movement right now. When we're at the line, we say, 'Like a girl!' before we go, which is pretty fun,” said Leslie Stratton, one of Team USA’s bobsled athletes.

Shelby Williamson and Caitlin Steutz are the other two women on the 4-women USA team.

Julia Corrente, Courtenay Farrington, Josee Theoret and Alysia Rissling represent Team Canada.

Canada’s coach, Helen Upperton, was a silver medalist in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in women’s bobsled.

Women already compete internationally in 2-person bobsled. But by competing in 4-person events like this one, these women hope the sport grows for others like them.

"That's the ultimate goal. Eventually, we want our own discipline and our own women's race; and thankfully there's a Canadian team here competing too, so that kind of progresses that,” Reinbolt said.

“Eventually, yeah, it would be great if it was an Olympic sport. That probably won't happen in my lifetime, but at least I can say I'm laying the foundation for the future."

Contributing: Mike DeBernardo


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