NEWS

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 history.

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 weekend.

““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 World Cup.

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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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Chris Dornan                                                                                                                           
Media and Public Relations
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton                    

T: 281-703-4394

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