by Chris Dornan
January 3, 2014, WINTERBERG, Ger. (ISN) – Lyndon Rush and Neville Wright were the lone bright spot in sixth place on a tough day at the office for Canada’s men’s bobsleigh athletes in Winterberg, Germany on Friday.
Despite a slow start on the short German track, Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Edmonton’s Neville Wright teamed up to clock a two-run, sixth-place time of 1:53.43.
“Winterberg is a starters track and while he was a bit slower off the start, Lyndon was driving exceptionally well today,” said Tom De La Hunty, head coach, Canadian Bobsleigh Team, who added they rested Lascelles Brown today on Rush’s sled to save him for the two four-man races scheduled this weekend.
“It was a tough day today for everyone. The weather was miserable and was a bit of a strange day, but the guys did well considering that.”
The Canadian duo were within striking distance of their first medal of the Olympic year after sitting in fourth place after the first bomb down the Winterberg track, but dropped a couple of spots after a few small mistakes in the final run.
“It has been a strange year for Lyndon so far, but I have no concerns or problems with him,” said De La Hunty. “He was going well today and I know he will excel on the more difficult tracks in Europe.”
Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann finished first with a time of 1:52.68. Russia’s Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda slid to the silver medal at 1:53.14, while Cory Butner and Charles Berkeley, of the United States, rounded out the men’s bobsleigh podium in third with a time of 1:53.15.
Two other sleds also hit the start line for the first time after the holiday break. Calgary’s Chris Spring and Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., placed ninth at 1:53.57, while Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and Edmonton’s Bryan Barnett flirted with the top-10, finishing 11th at 1:53.63.
Earlier in the day, Canada’s 29-year-old John Fairbairn slid to his career-best finish on the Winterberg track in the men’s skeleton racing. The Calgarian clocked a two-run time of 1:57.03.
“I had a few small mistakes on my runs, but this is by far the best result I’ve ever had in Winterberg so I’m satisfied today,” said Fairbairn. “A top-10 result was my goal coming into the week, and I’m happy to have achieved that. Each week I just work as hard as I can, and the results will come with all that work.”
Latvia’s Dukurs brothers finished one-two on the men’s podium. Martins Dukurs was first at 1:54.93, while Tomass Dukurs slid to the silver with a time of 1:56.12. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov clocked-in at 1:56.46 for the bronze.
Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., finished 16th at 157.66, while Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., placed 20th (1:58.63).
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Winterberg, Germany.
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 – Adidas, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, BMW Canada, The Globe and Mail, Conceptum Sport Logistics, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and SAIT Polytechnic. Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann, SUI, 1:52.68; 2. Alexander Zubkov/Alexey Voevoda, RUS, 1:53.14; 3. Cory Butner/Charles Berkeley, USA, 1:53.15; 4. Thomas Florschuetz/Kevin Kuske, GER, 1:53.26; 5. Francesco Friedrich/Jannis Baecker, GER, 1:53.32
6. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Neville Wright, Edmonton, 1:53.43;
9. Chris Spring, Calgary/Lyndon Rush, Burlington, Ont., 1:53.57; 11. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Bryan Barnett, Edmonton, 1:53.63.
Top-Five Men’s Skeleton Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:54.93; 2. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 1:56.12; 3. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:56.46; 4. Matthew Antoine, USA, 1:56.51; 5. John Daly, USA, 1:56.56
9. John Fairbairn, Calgary, 1:57.03; 16. Eric Neilson, Kelowna, B.C., 1:57.66; 20. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Ont., 1:58.63