Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton Names Dominant World Cup Team
November 19, 2008
CALGARY—Olympic medallists, Jeff Pain and Mellisa
Hollingsworth, will lead a group of six Canadian skeleton athletes who
will suit up and hit the start line for the World Cup after completing
one of the most difficult national team selection races in the team’s
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton named three men and three women, who are
hungry to own the podium in the eight races that make up the 2008-09
season including the season-opener, November 25-30 in Winterberg,
Germany, to its World Cup team on Wednesday. Joining Pain on the men’s
team will be Paul Boehm, of Calgary, and Jon Montgomery, of Russell,
Man., while Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., and Calgary’s Sarah
Reid round out the women’s trio.
“Canada’s skeleton athletes make up one of the strongest amateur sport
teams in the world having stepped onto the podium 94 times since 2002,”
said Don Wilson, chief executive officer, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton,
who added the team’s medal tally includes 83 on the World Cup, eight at
World Championships and three at the Olympic Winter Games. “This an
extremely powerful group of men and women who push each other every
training session and race, and are capable of sliding to gold on every
track around the world.”
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton set up its selection trials in three stages
to simulate Olympic Games, World Cup and World Championship
competition. The opening race, which took place at the Whistler Sliding
Centre, consisted of four runs held over two days to replicate the 2010
Olympic event. The athletes then travelled east down the Trans-Canada
Highway to Calgary where they had a two-run race at Canada Olympic
Park. The team’s final two-run selection race was staged on the site of
the 2009 World Championship track in Lake Placid, N.Y. this past
““Our national team selection trials for skeleton are often the most
difficult and competitive race these athletes will compete in all
year,” said Wilson. “With just 450 days to go until the opening of the
2010 Olympic Winter Games, it was our goal to ensure these national
team trials were set up to simulate all major competitions our athletes
will face in order to fully prepare them to win at all levels.”
Calgary’s Jeff Pain and Mellisa Hollingsworth, of Eckville, Alta., led
the nation’s best through each of the three stages. Pain, who is
arguably the most accomplished athlete in the history of the Canadian
skeleton program, has solidified himself as one of the top athletes in
the world having won nearly everything on the table in his sport. The
37-year-old is a multiple World Cup champion, a two-time World Champion
and Olympic silver medallist.
Paul Boehm, who finished fourth at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, is
poised to find his way onto the Olympic podium. The 34-year-old
captured his first World Cup victory last year when he won gold on his
home track in Calgary.
Jon Montgomery also captured his first World Cup victory last season
which was a breakout year for the 29-year-old World Cup sophomore.
Montgomery racked up five podium finishes, including a silver medal at
the World Championships en route to finishing second overall on the
The 28-year-old Olympic bronze medallist, Mellisa Hollingsworth, who
finished third overall on the World Cup last year, will be in good
Canadian company on the women’s World Cup circuit this year.
Hollingsworth’s long-time teammate and only woman in the world to win
both the overall World Cup title and World Championship title in the
same year, Michelle Kelly, will be looking to slide into 2009 while
continuing her dominance against the world’s best. Kelly grabbed five
World Cup medals, including three gold, which landed her in second
place overall on the World Cup standings last year.
The powerful Canadian duo will be joined in Canadian colours by World
Cup rookie Sarah Reid. The 21-year-old Calgarian, who has split time on
the World Cup and Intercontinental Cup circuits over the last three
seasons, proved she is ready contend with the world’s best after
winning gold at the 2008 World Junior Championships – not to mention
taking down some of the top skeleton athletes on the globe in Canada’s
selection trials. Reid’s victory at the World Junior Championships
guaranteed her a spot in the World Championships the following week
where she finished eighth. Reid finished fifth overall on the
Intercontinental Cup circuit in 2007-08.
The Canadian skeleton program is in good hands. Earlier this fall,
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced the return of Olympic gold
medallist, Duff Gibson, to the team’s coaching staff. As national
program coach, Gibson will be responsible for providing technical
support and guidance on the push start, along with leading strength and
conditioning training during the summer months while liaising between
the athletes and head coach, Willi Schneider, who resides in Germany.
During the winter, Gibson will be a full-time coach of Canada’s
Intercontinental Cup and development level athletes.
The Canadian squad’s lone World Cup stop on home ice will take place, February 2-7, 2009, at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at www.bobsleigh.ca on the Internet.
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Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton