Canada's Mellisa Hollingsworth, Lyndon Rush and Neville Wright Win Silver at World Cup Opener in Whistler
November 25, 2010
WHISTLER, B.C.—It was the race she had been waiting nine months to suit up for. On Thursday evening Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth slayed the Whistler Dragon that cost her Olympic gold by winning the silver medal in the World Cup season opener at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
“I am pretty happy for sure. It was pretty emotional coming up the outrun for different reasons this time,” said Holllingsworth, who was ranked number one heading into the 2010 Olympic race after winning her second Overall World Cup title last year with seven podium finishes in eight races. “My second run was really, really good and the best I have slid this track in a long time so that gives me a huge amount of confidence.”
The 30-year-old Hollingsworth, who finished fifth despite sitting in second spot heading into the final run in February’s Olympic race, was in an all-to familiar position in her first race since the heartbreaking finish that left her apologizing to the nation. Hungry for her first-ever podium finish in Whistler, Hollingsworth shook off any negative thoughts trying to creep into her head on the start line to hold onto her silver-medal position in her final trip down the 16-corner track while clocking a two-run combined time of one minute, 49.40 seconds (1:49.40).
“I made mistakes in my final run which cost me a podium spot in the Olympic test event, and obviously when it really counted at the Olympics, so I think a lot of people were watching a little closer now to see if I could hold it together and I did so I’m very proud of that,” said Hollingsworth. “I dealt with the past in the start house understanding the reality of the situation, but none of those thoughts came even close to being triggered at the start line. I had a goal today of getting better each run, and I went out and did it.”
It was a stellar day for the powerful Canadian women’s skeleton squad with all three athletes storming into the top-10. Hollingsworth’s Olympic teammate, Amy Gough of Abbotsford, B.C., who finished in seventh spot in her Games debut, was sixth on Thursday with a time of 1:50.66. Calgary youngster, 23-year-old Sarah Reid, locked up seventh place with a time of 1:50.73.
“We have such a great team and this is absolutely fantastic to have three of us in the top-10,” said Hollingsworth, who won the 2006 Olympic bronze medal. “Sarah has been having amazing start times and I’m so excited for the three of us to race the World Cup together this year. This is a great start for our team.”
Hollingsworth was sandwiched between two German athletes on the podium. Marion Thees captured the gold with a time of 1:48.98, while Anja Huber was third at 1:50.07.
The Canadians continued the silver lining around the Whistler track when the men’s two-man bobsleds hit the ice.
Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., teamed up with Edmonton’s Neville Wright to finish in a tie for the silver medal with the Germany 1 team of Karl Angerer and Christian Friedrich. The two sleds crossed the line deadlocked at 1:44.25.
“We had a hard week and beat up a lot of equipment so I feel good about tonight,” said Rush, who crashed earlier in the week during a training run. “It was a tough week. I’m a bit beat up but I’m happy.”
Rush, who celebrated his 30th birthday this week, enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2010 when he became the first Canadian in more than 40 years to win a medal in the four-man bobsleigh event at the Olympic Games when piloted the Canada 1 sled to third place. Rush also won a gold and bronze medal in World Cup four-man competition last season, to go along with a gold in the two-man.
“This is a fantastic venue and I love the challenge. I’m glad to be back and be on the podium.”
The Germany 2 sled of Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau slid to the top of the podium with a time of 1:44.06
Hosting a World Cup at home gave Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton the opportunity to start two development sleds in Whistler.
Alex Torbert, of Whistler, B.C., and Patrick Szpak, of Windsor, Ont., finished 11th at 1:46.21, while Calgary’s Chris Gudzowsky piloted Luke Demetre, of New Glasgow, N.S., to 12th spot at 1:47.05.
The World Cup continues on Friday at the Whistler Sliding Centre with men’s skeleton and the women’s bobsleigh race.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners - VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, Schenker Canada - along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
FOR COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Skeleton Results:
1. Marion Thees, GER, 1:48.98; 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 1:49.40; 3. Anja Huberg, GER, 1:50.07; 4. Donna Creighton, GBR, 1:50.36; 5. Shelley Rudman, GBR, 1:50.58.
Other Canadian Results:
6. Amy Gough, Abbotsford, B.C., 1:50.56; 7. Sarah Reid, Calgary, 1:50.73
Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Machata/Bredau, GER 2, 1:44.06; T2. Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Wright, Edmonton, CAN 1, 1:44.25; T2. Angerer/Friedrich, GER 1, 1:44.25; 4. Zubkov/Trunenkov, RUS, 1:44.35; 5. Arndt/Putze, GER 3, 1:44.38
Other Canadian Results:
11. Torbert, Whistler, B.C./Szpak, Windsor, Ont., CAN 3, 1:46.21; 12. Gudzowsky, Calgary/Demetre, New Glasgow, N.S., 1:47.05