IGLS, Aut.—Canada’s Elisabeth Vathje keeps on rolling, or sliding, onto the World Cup skeleton podium.
The 20 year old rookie from Calgary slid to her fourth World Cup podium of the season, winning her third silver medal in Igls, Austria on Saturday. The born and raised Calgarian clocked a two-run time of one minute, 49.64 seconds (1:49.64) on the flat 1,220-metre track.
“Silver is my new favourite colour I guess,” laughed Vathje from her hotel room in Austria. “I’m pretty excited. I had two personal best pushes on both runs today. It was such a close race and I just kind of let it go and let the sled do its job again today.”
Vathje, who finished sixth on the Igls track two years ago at World Juniors, was flanked on the podium by Lizzy Yarnold, of Great Britain, in the gold medal spot with a time of 1:49.46, and Austria’s Janine Flock in third at 1:49.83.
A relative unknown heading into her first ever season, Vathje, a silver medallist at the 2014 World Junior Championships, was one of three Canadian women that wasted little time introducing themselves to the world this fall in their first trip on the World Cup circuit.
Vathje shocked the world by winning a silver medal in her first World Cup race in Lake Placid. She topped that performance by winning the gold on her home track in Calgary one week later. With doubters waiting to see how the soft-spoken Canuck would perform in Europe, Vathje has not wavered in her drive to keep the Canadian skeleton program relative and on the podium. After getting banged up in Altenberg, Germany following the holiday break which forced her to miss the Konigssee race, Vathje won another silver in the birthplace of the sport in St. Mortiz, Switzerland.
“I knew in the back of my mind these results could be possible. I think the support I have received from the new group at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and everyone that makes up Team Vathje has been the difference,” added Vathje. “
Vathje’s Canadian mates also had another solid showing. Jane Channell, of North Vancouver, continues to circle the World Cup podium. Starting the season on Intercontinental Cup circuit, the 26 year old had another solid seventh-place finish with a time of 1:50.09. Calgary’s Lanette Prediger has also consistently placed in the top-10. The 35-year-old Prediger slid to a two-run, ninth-place time of 1:50.55 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., finished as the top Canadian in the men’s race. The 35-year-old Grizz clocked a combined time of 1:47.19 to finish 12th. Two Calgary boys also suited up in Igls. Barrett Martineau was 17th at 1:47.85, while Evan Neufeldt placed 21st (1:48.47).
The top skeleton women in the world will compete again on Sunday in Igls as a make-up race from La Plagne, France. Vathje will not be able to compete as she withdrew from the race before FIBT officials finally cancelled it due to poor track conditions.
“It is incredibly frustrating they will not let me compete especially because they cancelled that race last weekend for the same reason I withdrew in the first place,” said Vathje. “I’m not in the running for the overall, and it is honestly devastating they (FIBT officials) will not let me start.”
Top-Five Women’s Skeleton and Canadian Results:
1. Lizzy Yarnold, GBR, 1:49.46; 2. Elisabeth Vathje, Calgary, CAN, 1:49.64; 3. Janine Flock, AUT, 1:49.83; 4. Marina Gilardoni, SUI, 1:49.84; 5. Tina Hermann, GER, 1:49.86
Other Canadian Results:
7. Jane Channell, North Vancouver, 1:50.09; 9. Lanette Prediger, Calgary, 1:50.55
Top-Five Men’s Skeleton and Canadian Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:45.52; 2. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:45.97; 3. Nikita Tregybov, RUS, 1:46.26; 4. Sungbin Yin, KOR, 1:46.78; 5. Christopher Grotheer, GER, 1:46.86
Other Canadian Results:
12. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Ont., 1:47.19; 17. Barrett Martineau, Calgary, 1:48.47; 21. Evan Neufeldt, Calgary, 1:48.47.