Mellisa Hollingsworth Sets Track Record En Route to Winning Gold at Skeleton World Cup in Germany
January 8, 2010
KÖNIGSSEE, Ger.—Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth kicked off the year 2010 in record fashion en route to winning her second Skeleton World Cup race of the season in Königssee, Germany on Friday.
The 29-year-old speed Queen, who sat in second spot after the first run, charged to the top of the podium after shattering a track record of 49.21 while posting a time of 48.78 seconds in her second trip down the world’s oldest refrigerated track. Hollingsworth, of Eckville, Alta., posted a combined time of 1:38.50.
“That track record will stand forever because they are changing the bottom of this track next year,” said Hollingsworth. “The Germans always have track records on their home tracks so I think it is pretty cool a Canadian name will remain the track record holder here forever.”
Germany’s Kerstin Symkowiak stopped the clock at 1:38.50 to win the silver medal. Symkowiak won on both of the German tracks earlier this year. Shelley Rudman, of Great Britain drove to the bronze medal with a time of 1:38.73.
Hollingsworth has enjoyed her annual trip to Königssee, which was the first track outside of Calgary that she competed on when she was 16 years old and starting the sport. Hollingsworth, who is known as much for her passion for rodeo as skeleton racing, also won in Königssee in 2006 – the same year she won the Overall World Cup title.
Despite her success, she has struggled with the daunting Kreisel corner each year. But on Friday, she finally conquered the demon in Germany.
“Nearly every coach and athlete from other nations came up to me after my second run and said I had a perfect line in the 360 degree Kreisel corner in my second run, and that for me was really cool,” said Hollingsworth, who said she had been battling the challenging corner all week in training and nearly crashed exiting the Kreisel in her first run. “It is hard for us to achieve perfection in anything we do in life, and that was the first time I felt I had done something perfect.”
Hollingsworth has been nearly perfect this year. The Olympic bronze medallist has two World Cup victories, one silver and two bronze medals in her six races this season.
The result also marks the fifth victory ever for the Olympic bronze medallist and 21st World Cup podium finish in her 14-year career. In addition, the win moves her to first overall in the World Cup standings with a total of 1,236 points. Shelley Rudman sits in second with 1,187 points.
“That gap between us doesn’t mean a whole lot to me right now,” said Hollingsworth, who has been very open that her goal is to win the Overall World Cup title this year. “Shelley is a really great slider and there is no guarantee I will head to Whistler with the number one bib on. I have a lot of work left to do.”
Two other Canadian women also hit the start line on Friday. Carla Pavan, of Lethbridge, Alta., finished in 13th spot in her first World Cup start of the season after clocking-in at 1:39.71. Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., finished 14th at 1:39.88.
Meanwhile, the Canadian men came up short of driving to the winner’s circle despite posting two sleds in the top-10.
Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., led the Canadian charge with a sixth-place finish. The 30-year-old Montgomery posted a two-run time of 1:36.06. Olympic silver medallist, Jeff Pain of Calgary, also slid his way into the top-10 with an eighth-place finish after stopping the clock at 1:36.29. Toronto’s Mike Douglas finished 11th at 1:36.61.
Latvia’s Martins Dukurs continued his dominance of the men’s World Cup field by winning his third race of the year with a time of 1:35.29. Dukurs was sandwiched on the podium between two German athletes. Sandro Stielicke finished second at 1:35.63, while Frank Rommel grabbed the bronze medal with a time of 1:35.84.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Königssee, Germany with men’s and women’s bobsleigh action.
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., 1:38.26; 2. Kerstin Symkowiak, GER, 1:38.50; 3. Shelley Rudman, GBR, 1:38.73; 4. Marion Trott, GER, 1:38.87; 5. Anja Huber, GER, 1:39.08
Other Canadian Results:
13. Carla Pavan, Lethbridge, Alta., 1:39.71; 14. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 1:39.88
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:35.29; 2. Sandro Stielicke, GER, 1:35.63; 3. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:35.84; 4. Kristan Bromley, GBR, 1:35.88; 5. Michi Halilovic, GER, 1:36.02.
6. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., 1:36.06; 8. Jeff Pain, Calgary, 1:36.29; 11. Mike Douglas, Toronto, 1:36.61