Jane Channell surprised the top skeleton athletes in the world by sliding to the bronze medal in the land of Bavaria on Friday.
The 2018 Olympian leaped onto the final step of the podium in Konigssee after posting the second-fastest final run down time on the tricky 1,675-metre German track. Channell, of North Vancouver, B.C., finished deadlocked in third place at 1:42.93 after two runs with World Cup leader, Janine Flock of Austria.
Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling won the gold medal with a time of 1:42.30. Anna Fernstaedt, of the Czech Republic, was third at 1:42.77.
It was Channell’s fourth career medal on the World Cup and first in more than three years. The last time she climbed onto the podium was in 2017 after an emotional silver-medal triumph on the track where her Olympic dream was born in Whistler, B.C.
“It feels great to be back (on the circuit) with everyone and back on the podium,” said Channell, who was competing in her first race of the season after she decided to stay home to ensure a safe path to the World Championships while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run its course.
“The time I spent in Whistler was key today. It got me back to the roots of why I started sliding in the first place – because it is fun. Sliding with the newer athletes in the program reminded me of what it’s like to start sliding. It really allowed me to relax, feel the ice under my sled and learn to trust myself again. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way.”
Known as one of the most explosive starters on the planet, the 32-year-old lived up to her billing in her return to elite racing where she put down the second-fastest start times in both heats. First-race jitters may have got the best of the soft-spoken Canuck who made a costly mistake in her opening run down the 16-corner track, dropping her to seventh place.
“My first run I had a big mistake in the bendaway out of S4. I knew if I cleaned that up, I could be back in the pack,” said the veteran of the Canadian squad. “My focus was on the process, not the outcome today.
“I went into the second heat, sliding corner by corner, ensuring I was steering with purpose. My process was there, which resulted in the outcome.”
Canada’s Elisabeth Maier, who took last season off for maternity leave, also had another strong outing. The Calgarian catapulted six spots up the standings in her final run to finish in sixth spot for the third-straight week with a time of 1:43.52.
In the men’s race, Kevin Boyer of Sherwood Park, Alta., was the top Canadian in 19th spot at 1:42.12. Calgary’s Mark Lynch did not qualify for the second run with the top-20, placing 22nd.
Germany’s Alexander Gassner slid into the winner’s circle with a time of 1:39.88. Korea’s Sungbin Yun claimed the silver medal after stopping the clock at 1:39.92. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov finished .13 off the golden pace in third at 1:40.01.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Konigssee with the women’s and men’s bobsleigh races.
Women’s Skeleton Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/component/events/event/501295
Men’s Skeleton Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/component/events/event/501298