PYEONGCHANG, Kor.—Canada’s Mirela Rahneva capped off a standout season that saw her finish third overall on the skeleton World Cup circuit with a fifth-place finish on the 2018 Olympic Track in PyeonChang, Korea.
The 28 year old clocked the fifth-fastest times in each of her two runs down the 16-corner track at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, finishing with a combined time of 1:46.20.
“Today was difficult. It has certainly been a long season and a lot to take in, but I am happy with the work I put in and the results,” said Rahneva. “The track is quite interesting. It combines different driving styles, from a glider kind of driving to a really aggressive driver kind of driving. The push plays a big part here of course.”
It has been a dream season for the pint-sized Canuck from Ottawa, who racked up one gold, one silver and two bronze medals to secure third place overall in her first trip around the world with Canada’s elite skeleton squad.
“I can’t believe I ended up third overall. It’s very exciting, but I also am looking for more next year,” added Rahneva. “I have a ton more work to get to where I’d like to be, but that’s what summer is for.”
Rahneva’s teammate, Elisabeth Vathje, was looking to add to her two victories this year at the season finale. The 22-year-old Calgarian was in second spot after her first blast down the 1,376-metre track, but a costly mistake in her second run dropped her to sixth place in the standings with a time of 1:46.38.
Jane Channell, of North Vancouver, placed 13th with a two-run time of 1:46.92.
Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling set the time to beat at 1:45.68. Russia’s Elena Nikitina clocked-in at 1:45.98 to win the silver medal, while Kimberley Bos, of the Netherlands, slid to the bronze medal at 1:46.03.
On the men’s side of the draw, it was Dave Greszczyszyn leading the Canadians in 12th spot. The Brampton, Ont. resident posted a two-run time of 1:42.82.
Calgary’s Barrett Martineau was sitting in seventh spot after his first trip down the Olympic track, but he plummeted down the standings after a challenging second run. Martineau finished 19th at 1:43.54.
Saskatoon’s Evan Neufeldt did not qualify for the second run after posting the 23rd fastest time in the opening heat. Only the top-20 earn a spot in the final heat.
Latvia’s Martin Dukurs took down the hometown favourite Sungbin Yun for the gold. Sitting in second place after the first run, Dukurs put down the fastest second-run time to win the gold with a total time of 1:41.51.
Korea’s Yun settled for the silver medal at 1:41.52, while Tomass Dukurs, of Latvia, was third with a time of 1:42.16.
The final World Cup of the season continues on Saturday in PyeongChang with the men’s and women’s two-man bobsleigh events.