November 10, 2012, LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (ISN) The Canadian women’s skeleton squad made a serious statement they will be a force to reckon with on the World Cup after snagging the top-two spots on the podium on Friday at the season-opener in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Calgary’s 25-year-old Sarah Reid captured the first World Cup medal of her young career by winning the specially designed three-heat skeleton race with a combined time of 2:47.70. Mellisa Hollingsworth, of Eckville, Alta., racked up the 32nd medal of her 18-year career by sliding to second spot at 2:47.73.
“I am over the moon. There was so much excitement at the track and it was so loud at the start line that I just fed off that,” said Reid, who was in first place after the first two runs on Thursday. In an effort to make things more spectator and TV friendly, the FIBT added a third heat for the top-10 sliders on Friday.
“I was surprised leading after yesterday, but I always felt like I’ve known that I’m capable of sliding with these very talented girls. This tells me that I can be there too and I’m pretty stoked,” added Reid whose previous best finish was a sixth in Whistler last year.
Germany’s Marion Thees was third with a time of 2:47.83.
Having to deal with the pressure of waiting all night – not to mention wait for the nine sleds chasing her bolt down the 1,455-metre track – before getting the chance to learn her fate, the pint-sized slider handled the new experience and the20-corner track like a wily veteran.
“I was okay last night, but got a little nervous at breakfast today,” said Reid. “The atmosphere today was great because we slid between the bobsleigh races. To have all of my teammates and the bobsledders there cheering, I said to myself ‘this is fun’ and I went for it.”
Having slid for 10 years, Reid first turned heads in the skeleton world in 2008 when she became the first Canadian to win the Junior World Championships. Fighting for a breakthrough in her career, the young Canuck who is one of the most respected individuals in the sport, split time on the World Cup and Intercontinental Cup circuits for four seasons leading into last year where she became a full-timer on Canada’s elite squad.
Reid’s good friend and mentor, Mellisa Hollingsworth, also won her first of seven World Cup victories in her 10th season of sliding back in 2005. Hollingsworth’s silver on Friday was secondary to the young Reid’s golden accomplishment.
“Today was all about Sarah,” beamed Hollingsworth. “Going up the track I told Sarah that everyone here including me is rooting for you to win. I am just so incredibly happy for her.”
Theone-two finish turns back the clock a bit for Hollingsworth and the Canadian women. Back in the early 2000’s, it was common to see Hollingsworth and her World Cup teammates sweeping the World Cup podiums.
“Yesterday blew my mind how deep this field is, and to see me and Sarah at the top wassuper exciting,” said Hollingsworth. “I remember what it was like sliding with Lindsay Alcock and we’d just feed off each other. Now with Sarah, and Cassie <Hawrysh> as our rookie, this is the must fun I have ever had in the sport. Momentum is everything, and this team is awesome!”
Hawrysh, of Brandon, Man., also impressed in her first World Cup race. After winning 10 medals in 11 starts on the America’s Cup and Europa Cup Tours in just her first season of sliding last year, the 28-year-old skeleton phenom missed out on qualifying for the one-run bomb with the top-10 on Friday, but finished 11th in her World Cup debut with a two-run time of 1:52.87.
In the men’s skeleton race Canada’s John Fairbairn narrowly missed advancing into Friday’s third heat with the top-10. Fairbairn, of Calgary, finished as the top Canuck in 11th spot after clocking a two-run time of 1:49.76. Olympic gold medallist, Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., made his return to the World Cup after taking last year off by finishing 12th with a time of 1:49.82. Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., rounded out the Canadian men’s trio in 16th place at 1:50.23.
Latvia’s Dukurs brothers grabbed to the top-two spots on the podium. Martins Dukurs picked up where he left off last year, continuing his dominance of the elite men’s circuit. The Olympic silver medallist picked up the first gold medal of the season after clocking in with a three-run combined time of 2:41.48. Tomass Dukurs slid to the silver medal at 2:41.56, while Russia’s Alexander Tretjyakov locked up the bronze with a time of 2:41.65.
A replay of the women’s skeleton race can be viewed on Sportsnet ONE on November 10 at 7 p.m. EST. The men’s race will be shown on regional Sportsnet channels at 3 p.m. November 9, and replayed on November 11 on Sportsnet ONE at 1 p.m. EST.
Canada’s skeleton athletes will now travel to Park City, Utah for the next stop on the World Cup, November 12-17.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Conceptum Sport Logistics, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions.
Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Skeleton Results:
1. Sarah Reid, Calgary, CAN, 2:47.70; 2. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., CAN, 2:47.73; 3. Marion Thees, GER, 2:47.83; 4. Donna Creighton, GBR, 2:48.16; 5. Katie Uhlaender, USA, 2:48.21.
Other Canadian Results:
11. Cassie Hawrysh, Brandon, Man., 1:52.87.
Top-Five Men’s Skeleton Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 2:41:48; 2. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 2:41.56; 3. Alexander Tretjyakov, RUS, 2:41.65; 4. John Daly, USA, 2:42.96; 5. Kyle Tress, USA, 2:43.30.
11. John Fairbairn, Calgary, 1:49.76; 12. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., 1:49.82; 16. Eric Neilson, Kelowna, B.C., 1:50.23