November 12, 2009

PARK CITY, UTAH—Canada’s women’s skeleton athletes blasted out of the gate by winning two medals in the season-opening World Cup race in Park City, Utah on Thursday.

Amy Gough, of Abbotsford, B.C., captured her first-ever World Cup podium finish after posting the second-fastest time on the 2002 Olympic Track at 51.36 seconds, while Olympic bronze medallist, Mellisa Hollingsworth, of Eckville, Alta., took home the bronze after clocking-in at 51.37. The second run was cancelled due to heavy snow.

“I’m pretty shocked. This is just crazy,” said the 32-year-old Gough prior to the award’s ceremony. “My goal was to finish top-eight today to get an Olympic qualifier, but to get second and finish as top Canadian definitely is beyond my expectations.”

Gough, who is making her first full-season start on the World Cup, has had a handful of World Cup starts in her five-year career. Her best finish was a fourth-place result in Winterberg, Germany where she sat in second spot after the opening run.

“I have been in this position where I was second after the first run of a World Cup and dropped to fourth place so I was preparing myself to put down another solid run,” said Gough, who has never participated in a one-run race. “I didn’t expect them to cancel the second run, and was just shocked when I realized I was second. This is such a great start.”

Gough held off a hard-charging Mellisa Hollingsworth, who is the leader of the Canadian women’s team. The 29-year-old veteran overcame a challenging start to hold onto third place.

“I am very happy with getting onto the podium, and extremely proud of Amy’s performance today,” said Hollingsworth, whose third-place finish was her 17th trip to the World Cup podium in addition to her Olympic bronze medal in 2006, and silver-medal finish at the 2000 World Championships. “I think it is really important to get off to a strong start to the season and get on the podium. We’ll be able to carry this energy with us to the next race and that will help us.”

Hollingsworth had some technical challenges at the start, and while driving near the bottom of the track which cost her some critical time on the track where she won her third World Cup victory last season.

Sandwiched between the Canadian women on the golden spot of the podium was Germany’s Anja Huber who posted a time of 51.22

Canada’s Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., overcame a whirlwind week to post an impressive fifth-place finish at 51.50. The 35-year-old Kelly, who was reinstated to the national team on Tuesday evening following an appeal of a disqualification during the team’s selection trials, arrived at the track in time for two last-minute training runs Wednesday before putting down a solid performance in the World Cup opener.

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Jeff Pain led the Canadian men in the opening race of the World Cup season with a sixth-place finish. The Olympic silver medallist clocked a two-run time of 1:40.65. Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., finished tied for ninth place with a time of 1:40.71, while Toronto’s Mike Douglas was 15th at 1:41.31.

Latvia’s Martins Dukurs was the lone man to crack the 1:40 mark to grab the first gold medal of the season. Dukurs posted a winning time of 1:39.75. Germany’s Sandro Stielicke slid to the silver-medal position after stopping the clock at 1:40.27, while Kristan Bromley, of Great Britain, locked up third place at 1:40.37.

The World Cup continues in Park City, Utah on Friday with men’s and women’s two-man bobsleigh races.

For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at on the Internet.

Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Anja Huber, GER, 51.22; 2. Alex Gough, Abbotsford, B.C., 51.36; 3. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 51.37; 4. Shelley Rudman, GBR, 51.48; 5. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 51.50.

Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:39.75; 2. Sandro Stielicke, GER, 1:40.27; 3. Kristan Bromley, GBR, 1:40.37; 4. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:40.53; 5. Zach Lund, USA, 1:40.57.
Canadian Results:
6. Jeff Pain, Calgary, 1:40.65; T9. Jon Montgomery, 1:40.71; 15. Mike Douglas, Toronto, 1:41.31.


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