by Chris Dornan
January 12, 2014, ST. MORITZ, Sui. (ISN) – John Fairbairn became just the fifth Canadian male to win a World Cup medal in skeleton since the sport made its Olympic debut in 2002 after winning the bronze in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Calgarian put together two solid pushes with two consistent runs to clock a bronze-medal time of 2:17.32 on the 1,700-metre non-refrigerated track.
“I’m really excited to get my first podium in St. Moritz. I had an excellent day today,” said the 29-year-old Fairbairn. “I don’t think I expected it but I’m also not surprised because I have been sliding well and I felt like I was capable of doing this.”
Latvia’s Dukurs brothers grabbed the top-two spots on the podium for the second time this week. Martins was first at 2:15.54, while Tomass slid to the silver with a time of 2:16.63.
One of the most consistent sliders on the men’s World Cup squad, Fairbairn had a breakthrough in the final race before Christmas in Lake Placid when he posted a career-best sixth. He backed that result up with another sixth place finish on Friday in St. Moritz.
“I think my consistency is paying off as the season continues,” added Fairbairn. “My results earlier this year have given me a lot of confidence for each race, and I’m going to ride that all the way to the Olympics.”
Nicknamed “The Brain” on the team with race announcers forever mixing up his last name and being a Calgary-based engineer, Fairbairn became just the fifth Canadian male to win a World Cup medal since the sport made its Olympic debut in 2002. He is also the first male to strike the World Cup podium since Jon Montgomery won gold in Whistler in the post-Olympic year.
“It was pretty cool and means a lot to snap the drought and to be in the company with other Canadian sliders that have a World Cup medal,” said Fairbairn, who sports a human brain painted on his race helmet. “It adds to my confidence heading to Sochi. I know that if I continue to follow the process, and can be at my best that I can be right there every week.”
Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., was 10th (2:17.75), while Jon Montgomery, of Eckville, Alta., placed 18th (2:18.88).
Following Fairbairn’s podium celebration, Calgary’s Chris Spring made a charge for the podium in the men’s four-man bobsleigh race. Spring, and his crew of Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., Saskatoon’s Ben Coakwell, and Ottawa’s Cody Sorensen slid shy of their first four-man podium this year in fourth at 2:10.11.
Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskers, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga finished first at 2:09.52. Russia’s Alexander Zubkov, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov, Alexey Voevodea slid to the silver with a time of 2:09.75, while Germany’s Maximillian Arndt, Marko Huebenbecher and Martin Putze were third at 2:09.97.
Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., Calgary’s Lascelles Brown, and Edmontonians – Neville Wright and David Bissett were ninth at 2:10.43. Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and his crew of James McNaughton, of Newmarket, Ont., Edmonton’s Bryan Barnett, and Toronto’s Tim Randall were 12th (2:10.83).
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, 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 Skeleton Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 2:15.54; 2. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 2:16.63; 3. John Fairbairn, Calgary, CAN, 2:17.32; 4. Sergei Chudinov, RUS, 2:17.37; 5. Kristan Bromley, GBR, 2:17.45
Other Canadian Results:
10. Eric Neilson, Kelowna, B.C., 2:17.75; 18. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., 2:18.88
Top-Five Men’s Four-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Melbardis/Dreiskens/Vilkaste/Strenga, LAT, 2:09.52; 2. Zubkov/Negodaylo/Trunenkov/Voevoda, RUS, 2:09.75; 3. Arndt/Huebenbecher/Roediger/Putze, GER, 2:09.97; 4. Spring, Calgary/Lumsden, Burlington, Ont./Sorensen, Ottawa/Coakwell, Saskatoon, CAN, 2:10.11; 5. Florschuetz/Bluhm/Kuske/Poser, GER, 2:10.16
Other Canadian Results:
9. Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Wright, Edmonton/Bissett, Edmonton/Brown, Calgary, 2:10.43; 12. Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Randall, Toronto/McNaughton, Newmarket, Ont./Barnett, Edmonton, 2:10.83