—Canada’s Jane Channell finishes third Overall on World Cup Skeleton Circuit—
KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz are the Queens of women’s bobsleigh in 2016. The Canadian duo raised the prestigious Crystal Globe on Friday – a trophy awarded to the Overall World Cup winners in Konigssee, Germany.
Humphries and Lotholz captured the title after sliding to the silver medal at the final World Cup stop in Konigssee. It was the ninth straight podium for the Canadians in as many races.
It was the third second-place finish of the season for the Canucks, which also included a silver at last week’s World Championships. They also had four victories and two bronze medals this year. It is the third Overall World Cup title for Calgary’s Humphries.
“To win the overall title is a great feeling especially knowing we were never off the podium all year regardless of our finish position,” said the 30-year-old Humphries. “Melissa progressed a lot this year and really stepped it up. We are going in the right direction with what we want to achieve and that is great.”
Humphries drove to her 37th career medal on the premiere international bobsleigh circuit, with a two-run time of 1:41.83on the track nestled in the Bavarian Alps. The Canadians were poised to capture their fifth win of the season after leading after their opening bomb down the 16-corner track, but got edged out of the top spot on the podium by race winners, Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones, who clocked a time of 1:41.80.
“It is a little bittersweet. I’m not happy leading after the first run and then finishing second, but I’m not upset with the result either. This is a starters track and we definitely got out-started today,” added Humphries. “It is great that when you finish second you know there is room to improve. The start will be our number one focus this summer and we will work hard to get faster.”
It was the first overall World Cup title for Lotholz, of Barrhead, Alta., who pushed Humphries to three podiums during her rookie season one year ago. Building on that experience, the 23-year-old has taken her game to a new level during her second trip around the world, propelling the top Canadian women’s sled to a nearly flawless season.
“It has been an absolutely amazing year. I can’t even process it at times. It has taken an entire community to get us to this point – from our teammates, support staff, coaches and the federation – so this is a Globe that we are sharing with all of Canada,” said Lotholz. “It is a process to get to the point where you are the team to beat. Hats off to Kaillie. She has taught me how to be an athlete and how to manage being the team to beat. Looking over the last year, I’m just so happy with how far we’ve progressed. Comparing the last two World Championships we have closed the gap and were able to dominate this year.
“But there are mixed emotions today. Winning the overall feels great, but we would have loved to also win the gold medal today. The reality is the Americans were the better athletes at the start and there are no excuses. This fuels the fire though, and will give us motivation over the summer to push ourselves to be better.”
Germany’s Anja Schneiderheinze and Annika Drazek slid to the bronze medal at 1:42.02.
Canada’s Jane Channell Finishes third in Overall Women’s Skeleton World Cup
Earlier in the day, Canada’s Jane Channell locked up third place overall in the World Cup skeleton standings after an 11th-place result in the season finale.
It was the 27-year-old North Vancouver’s first full season on the World Cup, one that was highlighted with her first World cup podium – a bronze – in Winterberg, Germany.
“I’m so happy to place third overall. To accomplish this in my first full year on the World Cup feels amazing,” said Channell. “I really have to thank my coaches, teammates, family and friends for helping and supporting me. Honestly without them I’d be nothing.”
With her goals set squarely on the World Championships last weekend in Igls, Austria, Channell slid into some bad luck in her second run where she popped out of the start groove and nearly fell off her sled. But she was back at it on Friday, capping the season off in 11th spot with a two-run time of 1:45.87. Regularly at the top of the standings throughout the year, the rising star in the international skeleton circles posted the fastest push time at 4.99 in her first run.
Canada is in good shape as its women’s skeleton program turns the corner into the final two years on the road to the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. Last year’s multiple World Cup medallist, Elisabeth Vathje, finished strong in 2016 despite a slow start to the season.
Building on a season-best sixth-place result at the World Championships, the 21-year-old Calgarian grabbed the final spot in the top-10 on Friday with a combined time of 1:45.79 despite nearly crashing on the famed kriesel corner.
“It’s been a rough season and a lot of learning. I was really stoked with my result in Igls because I finally felt like me again sliding,” said Vathje, who finished ninth in the Overall World Cup standings. “I finally had a good push on my second run, and I’m starting to relax more on my sled. Unfortunately it took all season to get it back, but it motivates me for next season and will keep doing my best.”
Germany’s Tina Hermann locked up the overall World Cup title with another gold medal in Konigssee. Hermann grabbed her fifth victory of the season with a time of 1:43.21. Hermann’s teammate, Jacqueline Loelling, slid to the silver at 1:43.58. Switzerland’s Marina Gilardoni rounded out the women’s podium in third with a time of 1:44.08.
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
1. Elana Meyers Taylor/Kehri Jones, USA, 1:41.80; 2. Kallie Humphries, Calgary/Melissa Lotholz, Barrhead, Alta., CAN, 1:41.83; 3. Anja Schneiderheinze/Annika Drazek, GER, 1:42.02; 4. Christina Hengster/Sanne Monique Dekker, AUT, 1:42.22; 5. Elfje Willemsen/Sophie Vercruyssen, BEL, 1:42.48.
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Skeleton Results:
1. Tina Hermann, GER, 1:43.21; 2. Jacqueline Loelling, GER, 1:43.58; 3. Marina Gilardoni, SUI, 1:44.08; 4. Lelde Priedulena, LAT, 1:44.09; 5. Sophia Griebel, GER, 1:44.55.
10. Elisabeth Vathje, Calgary, 1:45.79; 11. Jane Channell, North Vancouver, 1:45.87