For more on the Frozen Chosen, please visit www.israelibobsled.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Championships Recap

Courtesy of Ken Childs, www.slidingonice.com
In front of friends, family, and the whole Israeli Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation crew, Brad Chalupski and Team Israel's inaugural World Cup season slid to an end Saturday night in Lake Placid.

Brad's three runs were good for a 29th place finish, and he matched his personal push record with a 5.10 start on his second heat.

His newly-painted Magen David helmet set him apart from the rest of the pack in the near-blizzard conditions, as did his raucous pack of fans (one of whom announced Brad's first run with a shofar).

If you missed the live broadcast, Brad's runs can be viewed through FIBT TV at http://eurovision.digotel.com/fibt/index.html

1st Run: ~ 1:10:30 into the video
2nd Run: ~ 58:30
3rd Run: ~ 59:30

Were you there at LP? Or were you cheering from the warmth of your own couch? Either way, send in your photos from the race to pbnskeleton@gmail.com.

Still can't get enough Israeli skeleton?  Head over to http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobskelyisrael/sets to view pictures from Lake Placid and the rest of the season, or http://www.youtube.com/bobskelyisrael/ for videos.
Courtesy of Ken Childs, www.slidingonice.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Team Israel in FIBT World Championships - Watch Live Friday/Saturday

Fresh off our debut season on the FIBT World Cup circuit, Team Israel will compete in Lake Placid, NY at the FIBT World Championships this Friday and Saturday.  Be sure to tune in live to catch the action!

Internet stream is available at http://eurovision.digotel.com/fibt/index.html - TV feed available on Universal Sports.

Heats start at the times indicated below - all times Eastern.  Please note, Brad's start time will likely be 35-plus minutes after the start of each heat, but be sure to keep a close eye.  As the start orders are released, we'll post an approximate start time.

  • Heat 1 - Friday, Feb. 24 - 5:00pm
  • Heat 2 - Friday, Feb. 24 - 7:00pm
  • Heat 3 - Saturday, Feb. 25 - 5:00pm
  • Heat 4 - Saturday, Feb. 25 - 7:00pm
Don't miss a moment of the build-up to Worlds - follow Brad at @TeamIsraelSkele on Twitter right now!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Bare Bones of Israeli Bobsleigh and Skeleton

Retrieved from http://www.jpost.com/Sports/Article.aspx?id=258231

The United States' USA-1, piloted by Shauna Rohboc 
Photo: AP
The history of the Israeli Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation is fittingly similar to the history of the State of Israel.

It began as an unlikely dream, endured brushes with disaster, and made it to where it is today with the help of unlikely allies, and the sweat and tears of many inspired and relentless men and women.

It began with Aaron Zeff, a former F-4 Phantom Pilot in the United States Air Force, getting a rush of adrenaline (and perhaps nostalgia) watching the bobsled competition, in the 2002 Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City. Zeff called his friend John Frank, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL.

“John, you need to listen to this,” Zeff yelled into his phone as a sled roared past. “That was a bobsled, and I think we need to try this.”

Within the next few months, the newly formed Israeli Bobsled Team had received the green light from the Israeli National Olympic Committee (NOC), to represent Israel in competition as a member nation of the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Toboggan (FIBT), the international body that governs the two Winter Olympic sports.

In the fall of 2002, Zeff and Frank crashed their sled countless times on the track at Calgary while participating in FIBT Driver School.

Worse still, the crashes took Zeff out of commission with a compression fracture in his spine, leaving Israel 1 without a driver.

Still defiant and persevering, Zeff called his friend David Greaves, a native of Winnipeg, and recruited him to serve as Frank’s brakeman.

With Frank piloting the sled for the first time, Israel 1 promptly crashed again.

Rattled but otherwise high on adrenaline, Greaves opted to hang around for Zeff to recover from his injuries.

Nearly two months later, Zeff’s doctors cleared him to get back behind the controls of Israel 1.

Under the coaching of New Zealander Ross Dominikovich, on those same treacherous curves of Calgary Olympic Park, Zeff and Greaves successfully completed one run and then many more runs. The two Israeli bobsledders logged 10 successful trips down the track that week, each night phoning Frank to share in their elation.

One year after that first phone call from Salt Lake City, Zeff, Frank and Greaves were making Aliyah in May of 2003.

Later that year in November, with Zeff and Greaves aboard, Israel 1 made its debut in the Americas Cup Race, in Park City, Utah.

Israel 1 competed all across North America that season, and coming into the final AC race in Lake Placid, was poised to qualify for World Championships.

Zeff arrived several days ahead of the others, and was hosted by Andy Teig, a local EMT who would later join the team as a Bobsledder. Living five minutes from the Lake Placid track, Teig volunteered to fill in as a brakeman for the training runs.

Even Lloyds of London wouldn’t have insured the Israel 1 sled that season, with the amount of abuse it withstood.

On the final day of training before the race, the dutiful sled finally snapped in half, leaving the team without a sled on the eve of the big race day.

“The Wolf”, as Teig was called, loaded up the mangled sled onto his truck, took it home, and welded all through the night. Israel 1 made it down the track twice the next day, placing fifth out of 19 teams and qualifying the team for World Championships, three weeks later in Königssee, Germany.

Since that inaugural season, the IBSF members have endured their fair share of bumps and crashes. But they have never looked back, and are still on that track towards making their Olympic debut.

In 2010 Bradley Chalupski joined the federation as the lone skeleton racer.

“I have known no greater honor in my life than representing Israel at the 2011 FIBT World Championships in Königssee, Germany.”

In December 2011, Chalupski earned Israel its first medal in skeleton at the America’s Cup in Lake Placid, NY and will be competing in the world championships later this month, also in Lake Placid.

“It’s an incredible honor to win a medal for an entire nation. I feel thankful, proud and amazing,” said Chalupski.

Greaves, now the Secretary- General of the IBSF, had this to say: “News of Bradley’s first medal and our Federation’s first ever skeleton medal will now sit alongside our bobsled medals and will help blaze a trail for other young athletes.

Bradley and Israel and all Jewish sports enthusiasts should be proud.”

“My goal is to represent Israel in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia,” exclaims Chalupski, with not even a hint of arrogance. “With a spot secured on the FIBT World Cup circuit, that goal is also squarely in my sights.”

For more information on the IBSF or Bradley Chalupski’s quest to qualify for the Olympics, please visit www.israelibobsled.com, email tamar@israelibobsled.com or follow on Twitter: @TeamIsraelSkele

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Israel's First Winter Olympic Medalist?

Retrieved from http://www.jpost.com/Sports/Article.aspx?id=257516

Fresh off his medal-winning performance at the Americas Cup in December he will represent Israel at the World Championships in February.

Bradley Chalupski 
Meet Bradley Chalupski, a native of New Jersey, currently living in Lake Placid, New York, where he trains full time as a Skeleton athlete for team Israel.

Chalupski visited the Holy Land for the first time in March 2011 on a Birthright trip and will be making Aliyah in May, when he will be moving to Haifa.

During his first full competitive season representing Israel in 2010/2011, Bradley earned a spot for the Israeli team in the top level WorldCup circuit.

Fresh off his medal-winning performance at the Americas Cup in December he will represent Israel at the World Championships in February. He has very realistic hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Games.

The Jerusalem Post will be following Bradley's quest to become this country's first Winter Olympic medalist.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chalupski Competes in World Cup Finale

Last night, Brad Chalupski competed for Team Israel in the final World Cup race of the season at Calgary Olympic Park.  This was Brad's second race competing on the World Cup circuit.  Although he finished in 27th place, Brad managed to shave a half second off his previous best time at Calgary.

Also noteworthy, video of Brad's two World Cup races are available through the FIBT's official video site.  FIBT streams live World Cup coverage through http://eurovision.digotel.com/fibt/index.html.

Whistler (More Channels -> World Cup 7 - Whistler) - Jump to ~ 55 minutes into Mens' Skeleton, Heat 1.

Calgary (More Channels -> World Cup 8 - Calgary) - Jump to ~ 1 hour, 1 minute into Mens' Skeleton, Heat 1.

(Sadly, video is not available in Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, France and Italy.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Official FIBT Preview of Calgary Race

Excerpted from http://www.fibt.com/index.php?id=88&newsId=3936&backUrl=index.php%253Fid%253Dhome

Bradley Chalupski (ISR) gave a double debut at the Viessmann FIBT World Cup in Whistler. The 27-year-old competed in the World Cup for the first time in his career, and was the first skeleton pilot from Israel ever to compete in the highest ranking tour of the FIBT season. Chalupski came to the sport of skeleton out of curiosity: “Honestly? I saw it on the television, watching the 2006 Olympics in Torino, and said to myself, ‘That looks like a ton of fun and I bet I could be good at that,’ said the athlete on the website of Seton Hall University in the US state of New Jersey before the Königssee World Championships last year. Bradley Chalupski is also the first skeleton slider from Israel to compete in a World Championships. (RWH)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

WORLD CLASS: Israel Debuts on FIBT World Cup Circuit

On Friday, February 3rd, skeleton athlete Bradley Chalupski proudly represented Israel at the FIBT World Cup race held at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Vancouver.  This was the same track made infamous by the death of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili in training runs for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

In a field of 25 athletes, Bradley finished in 25th place with a time of 56.61 seconds, failing to qualify for a second run.  However, Brad's push time of 4.76 was good for a tie for 17th place in the first heat.  Giving a sense of how tightly packed the field was, 4 athletes were tied for 13th with a 4.75 start, and the 10th fastest push was a 4.73.  Bradley actually out-pushed German Alexander Kroeckel (4.77), who placed fourth overall.

"The track was fast and very difficult," said Chalupski, "but by the end of the race, I was doing better than I expected.  I was only two-tenths of a second behind the next guy ahead, and took a bad bump in the 16th turn, actually the worst I drove it out, including my training runs.  My sliding was actually too controlled [in the race], and that's given my confidence a huge boost."

Bradley looks to open it up a little more on his return to the track at Calgary in next week's World Cup race there, which will be the last stop before returning to Lake Placid for World Championships.

Official results can be found on the FIBT website:  http://www.fibt.com/index.php?id=526&tx_pxresults_pi1[event_id]=26575&cHash=ec1a1dc6dccbbf80580fa68bd439640f