Canadian Skeleton Queens Own the Podium in St. Moritz

January 16, 2009

ST. MORITZ, Sui.—Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth and Michelle Kelly proved they are two of the best skeleton athletes in the world by winning silver and bronze medals respectively on Friday on the historic track in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The 28-year-old Hollingsworth, who has not been on the podium since the opening World Cup race of the season where she won a bronze medal in Altenberg, Germany, stomped some authority while blazing down the world’s longest and only naturally-iced track in her opening heat. The Olympic bronze medallist, who posted the fastest time of the first run at one minute 10.43 seconds, settled for the silver medal (2:20.59) after making some costly mistakes in the second heat.

“I slid well but made some mistakes twice that cost me so I am a little frustrated,” said Hollingsworth. “I think the positive is that we have two Canadians on the podium this week, we got an Olympic qualifier and now maybe we can carry this momentum back home to Whistler.”

Hollingsworth could not hold onto the lead after Shelley Rudman, of Great Britain, stormed from behind in the final heat to grab her second World Cup victory of the season. Rudman clocked a two-run time of 2:20.50.

Fully embracing Canada’s goal of owning the podium in 2010, Hollingsworth wasn’t the only Canuck flying down the 1,700-metres of icy banks which brilliantly wind its way into the town of Celerina. Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., put down two of her best runs of the year at 1:10.95 and 1:10.73 (2:21.68), to grab her first spot on the podium this season.

“I am disappointed right now because I have been sliding good in training, but I will likely be happy with this finish tomorrow” , said the 34-year-old Kelly, who finished second overall last year on the World Cup after sliding to the podium five times. “These are good results for us though. We are on a bit of a high now and can hopefully bring this to the North American tracks.”

Sliding to the podium together at the birthplace of bobsleigh and skeleton is nothing new for the Canadian skeleton queens, who have won nearly everything on the table in the sport. In 2003, Kelly and Hollingsworth completed a Canadian sweep of the podium in St. Moritz with recently retired teammate, Lindsay Alcock. Canada’s Deanna Panting was also fourth in that race.

“It is such a unique track and you are flying through the trees and can’t hear anything because of the natural snow and ice,” said Hollingsworth. “I think because it is a long track that our experience gives us a little more advantage.”

St. Moritz not only hosted the 1928 and 1948 Olympics, it also introduced Michelle Kelly to the sport of skeleton. While visiting St. Moritz as a member of the bobsleigh team in 1994, Kelly decided to give skeleton a try and has never looked back.

“It has always been my favourite track and I think it is because this is where I was introduced to the sport,” said Kelly. “I feel very comfortable here and I am always welcomed by the people. It is just a very special place with the history tied to it.”

Canada’s top bobsleigh women also hit the St. Mortiz track for the second consecutive day on Friday. Calgary’s 23-year-old Kaillie Humphries and new brakeman Heather Moyse, of Summerside, P.E.I., were poised to slide onto the podium for the first time of the year after clocking the second fastest time of the opening heat, but crashed exiting the challenging Horseshoe turn on their second run and did not finish. The Horseshoe has spit out many of the world’s best athletes throughout the week.

Calgary’s Helen Upperton, who has two World Cup victories under belt this year, overcame a rib injury sustained two weeks ago while loading into the sled Königssee, Germany to finish in fifth spot. Upperton and brakeman Jenny Ciochetti, of Edmonton, posted a two-run time of 2:19.16 to lead the Canadian charge.

Lisa Szabon, of Nanton, Alta., and Amanda Morely of Surrey, B.C., teamed up in the Canada 3 sled, but were disqualified.

Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker drove to their second straight victory in as many days in St. Moritz after setting the time to beat at 2:17.40. Cathleen Martini drove the Germany 2 sled to the silver medal (2:18.36) with Janine Tischer. Great Britain’s Nicola Minichiello also hopped onto the podium for the second straight day with teammate Gillian Cooke. The British duo won the bronze medal with a time of 2:18.75.

The Canadian men’s bobsleigh and skeleton athletes will hit the start line on Saturday in St. Moritz.

For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at on the Internet.

Top Five Women’s Skeleton Results:
1. Shelley Rudman, Great Britain, 2:20.50; 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., CAN, 2:20.59; 3. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 2:21.68; 4. Marion Trott, GER, 2:21.69; 5. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 2:21.97

Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results: complete results
1. Sandra Kiriasis/Berit Wiacker, GER 1, 2:17.40; 2. Cathleen Martini/Janine Tischer, GER 2, 2:18.36; 3. Nicola Minichiello/Gillian Cooke, GBR 1, 2:18.75; 4. Erin Pac/Elana Meyers, USA 2, 2:19.3; 5. Helen Upperton, Calgary/Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton, CAN 1, 2:19.16.

Other Canadian Women’s Results:
DNF. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I.; DSQ. Lisa Szabon, Nanton, Alta./Amanda Moreley, Surrey, B.C.

Chris Dornan
Media and Public Relations
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton
T: 281-703-4394

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