Mellisa Hollingsworth Puts Silver Lining on Historic St. Moritz Track at Skeleton World Cup in Switzerland
January 15, 2010
ST. MORITZ, Sui.—Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth rocketed to a silver medal at a Skeleton World Cup race on the historic track in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Friday.
The 29-year-old Hollingsworth, who stormed from behind to win last week’s race in Germany, was poised to win her second-straight gold medal after posting the fastest run in the opening heat at 1:10.45. But the tables turned this week for the Eckville, Alta. as she was forced to settle for the silver medal with a two-run time of two minutes 20.46 seconds.
“I am so incredibly happy with finishing second because I trained terrible all week, I have been so sick and I sprained my ribs so I had no idea what was going to happen today,” said Hollingsworth, who held on to first place in the overall World Cup standings with a total of 1,446 points. “I just allowed myself to drop everything that has happened, let it all go, trust my sled and rely on my experience. The way this week has gone – this was a victory today.”
Shelley Rudman, of Great Britain, who is in a fight with Hollingsworth for the World Cup lead, grabbed the gold medal with a time of 2:20.42. Rudman is second in the chase for the Overall World Cup title with 1,412 points.
Germany’s Kerstin Szymkowiak rounded out the women’s podium in third at 2:20.68.
The Olympic bronze medallist Hollingsworth has enjoyed success on the St. Moritz track – the only natural track in the world, winding its way down the Swiss mountain through tall pines, and ending in the town crazed for its sliding sports of bobsleigh and skeleton. St. Moritz hosted the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Winter Games. Hollingsworth has racked up four silver medals and one bronze in St. Moritz throughout her career.
“It is so unique and old here that you feel like there is some importance to what we do,” said Hollingsworth. “I have had success here, but each of my silver medals I think I was leading after the first run. I haven’t won on this track, but I do enjoy coming here for sure and the atmosphere is great.
“There was lots of people here from Britain cheering for Shelley <Rudman> today, and I definitely got a pull from that and thought it was really cool to have fans cheering for her.”
Hollingsworth has two World Cup victories, two silver and two bronze medals in her seven races this season.
Carla Pavan, of Lethbridge, Alta., was also poised to slide to the podium for the first time this year. The 34-year-old, who has three World Cup medals to her credit in her career including one silver medal at St. Mortiz in 2008, was in fourth spot after the opening run. Pavan placed fifth after clocking-in at 2:21.14.
The Canadian men also had a stellar day in St. Moritz, placing two of three sleds in the top-five in a shortened one-heat race.
Toronto’s Mike Douglas matched his career-best fourth-place finish to lead the Canadian charge. The 38-year-old Douglas, who also finished fourth earlier this year at a World Cup in Cesana, Italy, stopped the clock at 1:09.42.
“I’m happy with today because I do feel like I’ve been underperforming so far and want to be peaking at this time of year,” said Douglas, who added the race was reduced to one run after six athletes popped out of the ill-prepared start groove at the top of the track. “I really needed to have a good result this weekend to put Canada ahead of the other countries and secure that third sled at the Olympics which I was able to do.”
Douglas certainly did, and punched his ticket to the Games while doing so. His strong finish puts the Canadian men second overall behind the Germans. An Intercontinental Cup race in Calgary Friday evening will determine if the Canadian women also qualify a third sled.
“It is good to get this behind us, but what really solidified things for me was the race-off I won in Whistler at New Years,” said Douglas. “That gave me a boatload of confidence in my performance and I’ve been getting better and better from then.”
Eric Bernotas, of the United States slid to the top of the podium with a time of 1:09.15. Kristan Bromley, of Great Britain, won the silver at 1:09.22, while Latvia’s Martins Dukurs stole the bronze medal with a time of 1:09.33.
Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., finished on the heels of Douglas in fifth spot Friday. Montgomery, who won the Cesana race, posted a two-run time of 1:09.43. Calgary’s Jeff Pain finished in 18th spot at 1:10.05.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in St. Moritz with men’s and women’s bobsleigh action.
For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca on the Internet.
FOR COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1.Shelley, Rudman, GBR, 2:20.42; 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., CAN, 2:20.46; 3. Kerstin Szymkowiak, GER, 2:20.68; 4. Amy Williams, GBR, 2:20.95; 5. Carla Pavan, Lethbridge, Alta., CAN, 2:21.14.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Eric Bernotas, USA, 1:09.15; 2. Kristan Bromley, GBR, 1:09.22; 3. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:099.33; 4. Mike Douglas, Toronto, CAN, 1:09.42; 5. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., CAN, 1:09.43
18. Jeff Pain, Calgary, 1:10.05