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Skeleton at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games:

Men's Skeleton

Skeleton at the 2002 Winter Games: Previous Winter Games ▪ Next Winter Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Venue(s): Utah Olympic Park, Park City, Utah
Date Started: February 20, 2002
Date Finished: February 20, 2002
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.

Gold: USA Jim Shea, Jr.
Silver: AUT Martin Rettl
Bronze: SUI Gregor Stähli

Summary

There wasn’t one single favourite for the first Olympic skeleton title in 54 years. The United States had entered Chris Soule (second in that season’s World Cup tour), Lincoln Dewitt (2001 World Championships bronze medallist) and Jim Shea. Shea was the 1999 World Champion, and also the third Shea to compete in the Winter Games, after his father Jim and grandfather Jack. Shea had delivered the oath at the opening ceremony, and was the emotional favourite, as his grandfather Jack, two-time Olympic speed skating champion in 1932, had been killed by a drunk driver a month before the Olympics. But he was expected to have fierce competition from the European riders. These included 1994 World Champion Gregor Stähli (SUI), the best rider of the 2001/2002 season, 2001 World Champion Martin Rettl (AUT), 1998 World Champion and World Cup winner Willi Schneider (GER), among others.

But Shea won the first run by 0.13 seconds, ahead of Rettl and the competition’s big surprise, the Irish Baron of Wrottesley. A British nobleman living in Ireland, he was not even considered an outsider until the Olympic training runs, which prompted a newspaper article title “O’Cool Runnings”, referring to the Disney movie about the Jamaican bobsledders a decade earlier. But Wrottesley slid back into 4th position after the second and final run, which was slightly influenced by snowfall. Shea almost lost his lead to Rettl, but encouraged by a picture of Jack Shea he hid in his helmet, he kept his lead to become the first American Olympic skeleton champion since 1928.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Jim Shea, Jr. 33 United States USA Gold 1:41.96
2 Martin Rettl 28 Austria AUT Silver 1:42.01
3 Gregor Stähli 33 Switzerland SUI Bronze 1:42.15
4 Clifton, Baron Wrottesley 33 Ireland IRL 1:42.57
5 Lincoln DeWitt 34 United States USA 1:42.83
6 Jeff Pain 31 Canada CAN 1:42.92
7 Chris Soule 29 United States USA 1:42.98
8 Kazuhiro Koshi 37 Japan JPN 1:43.02
9 Willi Schneider 38 Germany GER 1:43.14
10 Duff Gibson 35 Canada CAN 1:43.16
11 Frank Kleber 20 Germany GER 1:43.34
12 Christian Auer 35 Austria AUT 1:43.37
13 Kristan Bromley 29 Great Britain GBR 1:43.43
14 Snorre Pedersen 29 Norway NOR 1:43.77
15 Pascal Richard 29 Canada CAN 1:43.84
16 Felix Poletti 36 Switzerland SUI 1:43.87
17 Philippe Cavoret 34 France FRA 1:43.88
18 Masaru Inada 23 Japan JPN 1:43.98
19 Christian Steger 34 Italy ITA 1:44.40
20 Gang Gwang-Bae 28 South Korea KOR 1:44.51
21 Tomass Dukurs 20 Latvia LAT 1:44.67
22 Konstantin Aladashvili 24 Russia RUS 1:45.59
23 Michael Voudouris 41 Greece GRE 1:48.44
24 Josef Chuchla 28 Czech Republic CZE 1:48.66
25 Luis Carrasco 38 Mexico MEX 1:48.98
26 Germán Glessner 27 Argentina ARG 1:52.65