Elisabeth Vathje posts best performance of year in sixth, Barrett Martineau slides to career best in eighth
PARK CITY, Utah—Taking advantage of an explosive start and a familiar track in Park City, Utah, Canada’s Jane Channell slid to her first career World Cup silver medal on Saturday afternoon.
A legacy baby of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the 27-year-old Channel clocked the first and second-fastest start times while blasting down the 13-corner track in a combined time of 1:41.49.
“Winning the silver feels amazing. It’s reassuring that I’m taking steps in the right direction having slid two relatively consistent runs,” said Channell. “Park City is a short, pushers track so being able to have a strong push gives me the upper hand and a bit of a buffer incase things don’t go as planned down the track. It is a confidence booster knowing that out of the gates I’m the one being chased.”
The North Vancouver resident was sitting in unfamiliar territory midway through the race after posting the second fastest opening run at 50.34. But the second year slider on the World Cup was able to shake off her nerves to secure the silver medal.
“I’ve never been second last off at the World Cup level,” added Channell. “The men were in the start house so I wasn’t alone up there. My teammates and the other sliders were great. Their small distractions helped me to stay relaxed before my second run.”
It was the second medal of Channell’s season and World Cup career. Channell reached the podium for the first time earlier this year when she won the bronze in Winterberg, Germany.
Germany’s Tina Hermann topped the soft-spoken Canuck on that day, and she did so once again on Saturday after setting the time to beat at 1:41.08.
“Tina is a very good slider. We joke that I’ll trade her my start for her lines down the track,” laughed Channell. “If I want to overtake her, I’ll need to keep having fast starts and two perfect consistent runs. I’ll also need to learn to relax more on the sled and trust that it will fly.”
Austria’s Janine Flock was third with a time of 1:41.58.
Canada’s Elisabeth Vathje also had her best performance of the season. Sitting in ninth spot after the first heat, the Calgarian showed promising signs of her old form after posting the fourth-fastest second heat to climb into sixth place overall at 1:42.01.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Barrett Martineau had his best career finish on the skeleton World Cup in the men’s race Saturday afternoon in Park City.
The former 24-year-old national team ski jumping athlete from Calgary slid into eighth spot with a two-run time of 1:39.77.
“This result feels great. My best World Cup to date and that is something to smile about,” said Martineau, who credits a pre-race meeting with coach Ivo to develop a race plan to set him for success and a top-t=10 finish.
While he has little experience sliding in Park City, Martineau feels at home – a place he spent countless hours during his ski jumping days.
“The track is fun, and I love the vibe here. I think being here put me in a positive mindset,” added Martineau. “I’m gaining experience as the season goes on and that is helping me to become a more confident and relaxed slider which is allowing me to make positive strides towards being competitive with the best in the world.”
Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., placed 12th with a time of 1:40.29.
Latvia’s Martins Dukurs continued his dominance of the men’s World Cup, winning with a time of 1:38.35. Korea’s Sungbin Yun slid to the silver medal with a time of 1:38.73, while Germany’s Axel Jungk locked up the bronze medal after stopping the clock at 1:39.05.
The World Cup circuit now heads for its lone stop in Canada. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will host the world’s best at the Whistler Sliding Centre, January 22-23. Tickers are available for $10 at www.whistlerslidingcentre.com, or at Guest Services. Children under 12 are free.
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
1. Tina Hermann, GER, 1:41.08; 2. Jane Channell, North Vancouver, B.C., 1:41.49; 3. Janine Flock, AUT, 1:41.58; 4. Anne O’Shea, USA, 1:41.92; 5. Kendall Wesenberg, USA, 1:41.95
6. Elisabeth Vathje, Calgary, 1:42.01
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Skeleton Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:38.35; 2. Sugbin Yun, KOR, 1:38.73; 3. Axel Jungk, GER, 1:39.05; 4. Matthew Antoine, USA, 1:39.18; 5. Nathan Crumpton, USA, 1:39.32
8. Barrett Martineau, Calgary, 1:39.77; 12. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Man., 1:40.29