WHISTLER, B.C.—Hometown girl, Jane Channell, finally conquered the Whistler Sliding Centre track by winning the silver medal in World Cup skeleton action on Friday.
Plagued by the 16-corner beast in Whistler since she was introduced to the sport of skeleton in the lead up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the 29-year-old Channell put together the race of her life to match a career-best finish on the World Cup, claiming the silver medal with a time of 1:48.61.
“Whistler has always been a love-hate thing for me so to come out here and be able to love the track, and accept it for what it is, feels amazing,” said Channell wiping away tears streaming down her face at the finish line.
It was the third World Cup medal for the 2010 Legacy Baby since making Canada’s World Cup squad in 2014-15. It was also her first medal since capturing a silver and bronze two years ago.
“To do this on my home track, where I learned to slide, in front of my friends and family absolutely means the world to me,” added Channell, who grew up down the Sea-to-Sky Highway in North Vancouver and was inspired to take up skeleton when the fastest track on the planet was built in her own backyard.
Channell was sandwiched on the podium between two German sliders on Friday. Jacqueline Loelling won the race with a time of 1:48.38, while Tina Hermann was third at 1:48.65.
Channell struggled with confidence and sliding since leaping onto her first two World Cup podiums – rarely finding her way into the top-10 last season. But that all changed two weeks ago after posting the fastest down time in the final heat at the season-opener in Lake Placid – setting her up for a good week in her return to the 1,450-metre monster that plummets the world’s best sliders head first down Whistler’s infamous Blackcomb Mountain.
“I really needed that run (in Lake Placid). It was a game changer. Last year was such a difficult year for me. I know I had the support of so many people, but I needed to find a way to believe in myself. That is an entirely different thing, and to actually then go out and do it is another thing,” added Channell.
“I knew I could do it today, but I didn’t have many expectations. I took it corner-by-corner. That is the only way to (have success) here because with the conditions today you didn’t know what was going to happen. That was the key. There are lots of things to clean up on the track, but I was able to pull it out today. It means the world to me to do this here in Whistler.”
Canada’s other two women’s skeleton sleds also stormed into the top-10 for the third-straight week. Ottawa’s Mirela Rahneva cleaned up a disappointing opening run that left her in 10th place by posting the fastest second-run downtime for a seventh-place finish at 1:49.01.
Calgary’s Elisabeth Vathje, who won the Whistler stop on the World Cup one year ago, dropped to eighth spot at 1:49.06 after a slip-up at start of her final run.
The BMW IBSF World Cup continues on Friday night with the men’s two-man and women’s bobsleigh races.
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
- Jacqueline Loelling, GER, 1:48.38; 2. Jane Channell, North Vancouver, CAN, 1:48.61; 3. Tina Hermann, GER, 1:48.65; 4. Lelde Priedulena, LAT, 1:48.80; 5. Kim Meylemans, BEL, 1:48.81
Other Canadian Results:
- Mirela Rahneva, Ottawa, 1:49.01; 8. Elisabeth Vathje, Calgary, 1:49.06