FEARLESS HOLLINGSWORTH WINS GOLD AT SKELETON WORLD CUP IN PARK CITY
February 11, 2009
PARK CITY, UTAH—Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth captured her first World Cup victory of the season, and third of her career, in Park City, Utah on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old put down two of the fastest runs of the day to clock a golden time of 1:41.62 on the 2002 Olympic Track near Salt Lake City. The world’s best skeleton athletes were racing on Wednesday to make up from a previously cancelled competition in Cesana, Italy prior to the holiday break due to snow.
“I finally put two together,” said an elated Hollingsworth, who also has a silver and bronze medal to her credit this season. “I think maybe what happened last week in Whistler was a blessing in disguise, and I know now what to expect and to not be afraid.”
After taking the lead in the opening heat for the third consecutive race, the Eckville, Alberta native was the last woman standing on the start line again on top of the hill in Park City. Like playing in the final group of PGA Tour golf event, or standing in the goal of a penalty shot in the NHL playoffs, leading into the second run of a skeleton race defines pressure.
A lonely feeling with thoughts racing through your head faster than the 129 kilometres clocked going down the icy tracks around the world, Hollingsworth let the gold slip through her finger tips in fist two attempts this year.
After leading in St. Moritz, she finished second following a disappointing second run. Last week, after setting a track record at the new Whistler Sliding Centre in her opening run, the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist struggled in corner four, which cost her gold again.
But, with her season clearly on the rebound, Hollingsworth had a firm stance on top of the podium Wednesday and was not about to jump off.
“I think you definitely need to be in that situation <alone at the top> to learn how to deal with it,” said Hollingsworth, who believes you can rely on two choices when leading into the second run. “I think you can play naïve and not let it bother you, or you have to rely on experience know exactly what to expect. But if you are somewhere in between those two you can get into trouble.”
Hollingsworth was joined on the women’s podium by Germany’s Marion Trott, who clocked a time of 1:41.83. Noelle Pikus-Pace, of the United States, captured her first podium finish of the season when she was third with a time of 1:41.89.
Calgary’s Sarah Reid finished 12th at 1:42.76, while Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., was 16th (1:42.90).
Meanwhile, Calgary’s Jeff Pain and Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., finished in a tie for sixth spot with Germany’s Florian Grassl at 1:39.60. The Canadian duo also shared the podium last week in Whistler when Montgomery won his first World Cup of the season, and Pain was third.
Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov finished on top in the tight men’s race with a time of 1:38.82. Eric Bernotas, of the United States, celebrated the silver medal with a time of 1:38.85, while Germany’s Frank Rommel was third (1:38.88).
Calgary’s Keith Loach was the only other Canadian in the men’s race and finished 14th (1:40.06).
The World Cup continues in Park City, Utah on Thursday with men’s and women’s two-man bobsleigh races and the regularly-scheduled skeleton race.
For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at www.bobsleigh.ca on the Internet.
FOR COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 1:41.62; 2. Marion Trott, GER, 1:41.83; 3. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 1:41.89; 4. Kerstin Symkowiak, GER, 1:42.02; 5. Katie Uhlaender, USA, 1:42.04.
Other Canadian Results:
12. Sarah Reid, Calgary, 1:42.76; 16. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 1:42.90
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:38.82; 2. Eric Bernotas, USA, 1:38.85; 3. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:38.88; 4. Matthew Antoine, USA, 1:39.40; 5. Gregor Staehli, SUI, 1:39.47
T6. Jon Montgomery, Calgary, 1:39.60; T6. Jeff Pain, Calgary, 1:39.60; 14. Keith Loach, Calgary, 1:40.06.