Canada’s Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown Celebrate Golden Day with Fernando at Bobsleigh World Cup in Italy
February 5, 2011
CESANA, Ita.—Canada’s Helen Upperton andShelley-Ann Brown gave their best performance in the final race of the year byteaming up to win their first World Cup gold medal together in Cesana, Italy onSaturday.
Frustratedby results this season that have been good, but not excellent, Calgary’sUpperton made a courageous decision to take a break from her medal-winning sled“Fernando” at the beginning of the week in hopes of finding more speed down thetrack.
But afterdating a new sled in training, Calgary’s Upperton gave Fernando another shotand the love affair that has regularly escorted Upperton to the winner’s circlethroughout her career, was quickly rekindled as the Canadian trio set a newrecord on the technical Cesana track at 56.99 in their first run en route toposting a two-run golden time of one minute, 54.21 seconds (1:54.21).
“We havesuch high expectations as a team, and the results haven’t been as great as wewanted so I was a little adventurous in training and tried a new sled,” saidthe 31-year-old Upperton, who now has 16 World Cup medals and five victories inher illustrious career. “The team was joking that ‘Fernando’ would be jealousthat I was cheating on him. It was a fun test, but the other sled just didn’twork, so I went back to Fernando for the race.”
It wasthe third medal of the season for Upperton and Brown, of Pickering, Ont. Thetwo Canucks also finished third at both the Calgary and Lake Placid World Cupstops.
“Iobviously didn’t get much training runs in the sled, but just figured it is thelast World Cup of the season, and gave it everything I had,” added Upperton. “Iwas waiting for that race all year. I felt I had it, but the results justweren’t there.”
TheCanadians were joined on the podium by Esme Kamphuis and Judith Vis, of theNetherlands, who slid to their first World Cup podium in the silver-medal spotat 1:54.50. Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis and Stephanie Schneider were third at1:54.52.
Canada’sOlympic gold-medallists, Kaillie Humphries of Calgary, and Heather Moyse ofSummerside, P.E.I., finished in fifth spot at 1:54.66. The solid finish placedHumphries and the Canada 1 sled into third spot in the Overall World Cupstandings.
Uppertonwas equally thrilled for her Olympic silver medal-winning brakeman Shelley-AnnBrown, of Pickering, Ont., who celebrated her first-ever World Cup victory.
“I amhappy for Shelley. She won the push competition earlier this week, and thiscould be her final World Cup so it was great for her to get a win,” saidUpperton. “This is such a fun track to slide on. The atmosphere here is great andI’m pretty happy because I now have the start record here with (Heather) Moyse,and the track record with (Shelley-Ann) Brown.”
Thevictory was Upperton’s second World Cup gold medal in Cesana. She also finisheda heart-breaking fourth-place on the Italian track at the 2006 Olympics and atlast years World Cup stop.
Meanwhile,Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask., made a charge for the podium in the men’stwo-man race. Rush and Edmonton-based teammate Neville Wright bolted up theleaderboard after a difficult opening run where they were eighth to clock thesecond-fastest time of the final run, and finish fourth at 1:51.24.
Italy’sSimone Bertazzo and Matteo Torchio won the men’s race with a time of 1:50.96.Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter were second at 1:51.10, whileGermany’s Thomas Florschuetz and Kevin Kuske won the bronze medal with a timeof 1:51.11.
CalgariansChris Spring and Justin Wilkinson teamed up in the Canada 2 sled to finish 17that 1:52.60.
The WorldCup wraps up on Sunday in Cesana, Italy with the men’s four-man bobsleigh race.
BobsleighCANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing bodyfor the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of itsvalued corporate partners - VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, Schenker Canada - alongwith the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium,Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit usat www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s and CanadianResults:
1.HelenUpperton, Calgary/Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., CAN 2, 1:54.21; 2. EsmeKamphuis/Judith Vis, NED 1, 1:54.50; 3. Sandra Kiriasis/Stephanie Schneider,GER 1, 1:54.52; 4. Shauna Rohbock/Valerie Fleming, USA 1, 1:54.56; 5. KaillieHumphries, Calgary/Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I., CAN 1, 1:54.66
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1.SimoneBertazzo/Matteo Torchio, ITA, 1:50.96; 2. Beat Hefti/Thomas Lamparter, SUI 1,1:51.10; 3. Thomas Florschuetz/Kevin Kuske, GER 3, 1:51.11; 4. Lyndon Rush,Humboldt, Sask./Neville Wright, Edmonton, CAN 1, 1:51.24; 5. AlexsandrZubkov/Dmitry Trunenkov, RUS, 1:51.27.
17.Chris Spring, Calgary/Justin Wilkinson, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:52.60. *****