KONIGSSEE, Ger.—The Canadian women came up just short in their quest for the World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton podiums on Friday in Konigssee, Germany.
For just the second time this year, Kaillie Humphries and Cynthia Appiah finished off the World Cup bobsleigh podium after placing fourth. One week removed from her first World Cup victory, Mirela Rahneva had a fourth-place finish of her own in women’s skeleton.
Calgary’s Humphries and Toronto’s Appiah were not able to capitalize on fast starts in both runs to secure a medal. Despite pushing the second fastest in the opening heat, and top push in the final run, the Canadian duo clocked a combined time of 1:41.76.
“The first run showed that even with an awesome drive and a good push we were behind the Americans so there is stuff we need to look at and change before we come back here for World Championships,” said Humphries. “I made a couple of driving mistakes on the second run and the good thing is when you know you’ve made mistakes there is time left on the table. I’m happy it is not World Champs now.”
The Canadian duo were in third place after the opening charge down the 16-corner icy chute which winds its way down the spectacular Bavarian Alps, but dropped one spot after the final descent.
“The sled reacted in a way that it has never done before so that is a bit of a mystery,” added the 31-year-old Humphries. “A couple of corners may have looked pretty, but there were mistakes, and I didn’t have the speed with the way I drove them.”
The American sleds had the throttle down in their one-two finish in Konigssee. Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones led wire-to-wire with a golden time of 1:41.01. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans were second at 1:41.27.
Germany’s Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek topped the Canucks for third place at 1:41.67.
A home-away-from-home for the Canadians, Humphries has captured five podium finishes in Konigssee including the 2011 World Championships – a title she is looking to reclaim in a few week’s time.
Despite finishing off the podium, Humphries still holds first place in the overall World Cup standings thanks to the efforts of her two brakemen Appiah and Melissa Lotholz, who have been posting top push times all year while splitting time in her sled.
“Both of the girls have been awesome. They definitely have a respectful battle royal going on each week to be better and earn the start,” said Humphries. “They are both proud athletes and respectful teammates, yet rivals as well, but they are always helping each other out regardless of whose chance it is to push. I’m very proud of both of them and it is a great sign for the entire program.”
Lotholz, of Barrhead, Alta., took advantage of a week off Humphries’ sled to push Edmonton’s Alyssia Rissling on Friday. The duo was fourth together in Rissling’s World Cup debut in Whistler. They cracked the top-10 once again in Konigssee, placing ninth at 1:42.34.
Christine de Bruin, of Stony Plain, Alta., and Catherine Medeiros, of Mascouche, Que., rounded out the Canadian contingent in 16th place at 1:43.24.
Mirela Rahneva Slides to Fourth in Women’s Skeleton
Ottawa’s Mirela Rahneva continued her standout rookie season on the elite skeleton circuit.
One week removed from her first World Cup victory in St. Moritz, the 28-year-old Rahneva made another charge for the podium on Friday in Konigssee.
Sitting in seventh place after her first run down the 1,675-metre track, Rahneva came up just short in an attack for her fourth podium of the season, placing fourth with a time of 1:44.12.
The Germans swept the women’s skeleton podium. Jacqueline Loelling was first at 1:43.21. Tina Hermann slid to the silver medal at 1:43.66, while Anna Fernstaedt finished ahead of Rahneva in third with a time of 1:43.67.
North Vancouver’s Jane Channell had her eyes on a top-10 finish, but wasn’t able to put two runs together and finished 11th at 1:45.12. It was a similar story for Canada’s Elisabeth Vathje. Sitting in fifth spot after her first run, a costly mistake plummeted Calgary’s Vathje into 14th place at 1:45.28.
It was a good prep race for Rahneva and the talented trio of Canadian women in advance of the World Championships, who have racked up five medals together this season.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Konigssee with men’s skeleton and two-man bobsleigh.