CANADIAN MEN’S SKELETON TEAM STOMP DOWN AUTHORITY WINNING GOLD AND BRONZE MEDALS ON 2010 OLYMPIC TRACK IN WHISTLER
February 5, 2009
WHISTLER, B.C.—The Canadian men’s skeleton team proved to the world they are determined to own the podium in 2010 by winning gold and bronze medals in the Olympic World Cup test event at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Thursday night.
Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., moved from second spot after his first run into the winner’s circle after putting a stellar final run down the 1,450-metre lightening-quick track. The 29-year-old, who won five World Cup medals last season along with a silver medal at the World Championships, clocked a two-run time of one minute 47.67 seconds.
“I am absolutely thrilled. We had a slow start to the season, but it is great to get back up here on top of the podium especially in front of our own fans,” said Montgomery, who is competing in just his third year on the World Cup circuit. “That was a good second run and it is really nice for me to be up here with the elite again.”
Montgomery had good company with him while jumping onto the top step of the podium in front of the 2,500 fans that lined the fastest track in the world. Canada’s Olympic silver medallist, Jeff Pain, finished in a tie for third sport with Matthew Antoine of the United States. The Calgary native, who was leading after the first run, held on for the final spot on the podium after steering into some difficulty at the bottom section of the track, and clocked a combined time of 1:48.19.
“It has been a long time since I’ve been on the podium so this definitely feels good,” said Pain, who has not won a World Cup medal since the post-2006 Olympic year. “It is great to see so many people out here and I am proud to be here racing for Canada.”
Switzerland’s Gregor Staehli finished second at 1:48.06. Calgary’s Keith Loach was the only other Canadian in the men’s race and finished 13th (1:49.09).
Earlier in the evening, Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth was poised to win her first World Cup race of the season after setting a new track record of 54.81 in her first heat. The final athlete to drive down the track in the second run, Hollingsworth’s sled skidded out of corner four which cost her loads of time and the gold medal. Despite regaining control of her sled, the Eckville, Alta. native could only do as good as ninth place with a time of 1:51.71.
“I am in shock,” said Hollingsworth following her first run. “I felt very calm and relaxed at the start line, and didn’t expect this. We are constantly learning this track and it is better that it happened now. The big race here is in one year from now.”
The Germans grabbed two spots on the women’s podium. Marion Trott won the gold medal with a time of 1:49.86, while Anja Huber was third at 1:50.71. Great Britain’s Amy Williams was sandwiched in the silver-medal spot at 1:50.39.
Two other Canadian women also hit the start line on Thursday. Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., was 10th (1:52.11), while Calgary’s Sarah Reid was 14th (1:52.96).
The World Cup continues at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday with men’s and women’s two-man bobsleigh races.
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 Men’s Results:
1. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., CAN, 1:47.67; 2. Gregor Staehli, SUI, 1:48.06; T3. Jeff Pain, Calgary, CAN, 1:48.19; T3. Matthew Antoine, USA, 1:48.19; 5. Sandro Stielicke, GER, 1:48.28.
Other Canadian Results:
13. Keith Loach, Calgary, 1:49.09
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Marion Trott, GER, 1:49.86; 2. Amy Williams, GBR, 1:50.39; 3. Anja Huber, GER, 1:50.71; 4. Katie Uhlaender, USA, 1:50.77; 5. Maya Pedersen, SUI, 1:50.81
9. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 1:51.71; 10. Michelle Kelly, Calgary, 1:52.11; 14. Sarah Reid, Calgary, 1:52.96.