Mellisa Hollingsworth Shakes out Gold Medal at Skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.Mellisa Hollingsworth slid to the fourth World Cup skeleton victory of her career after winning in dominant fashion in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Friday afternoon.


The 29-year-old Hollingsworth captured her first-ever victory in Lake Placid after clocking the fastest time in both runs. The Eckville, Alta. native posted run-times of 57.54 and 57.31 for a combined time of one minute 54.85 seconds under grey skies and drizzling rain, which slowed down the 20-corner 1,455-metre track.


“Training definitely didn’t indicate the outcome this week, but I woke up today and decided I wanted to win today,” said Hollingsworth, who made her 18th trip to the World Cup podium. “I just felt why not me today, and I went out there and just put it down.”


One of the most humble athletes off the playing field, Hollingsworth has struggled on the challenging Lake Placid track throughout her career, which throws all one can handle at the world’s best athletes.


“It is so abrupt and the transitions are so quick,” said Hollingsworth following the medals ceremony. “When you cross the finish line you feel like you spent a minute in a washing machine and have a little shaken baby syndrome.”


One of the most dominant skeleton athletes in the world, Hollingsworth is off to a similar start to this Olympic season as her breakthrough campaign in 2006 where she went on to become the first athlete ever to podium in all eight World Cup races, including the Olympic Winter Games where she finished third. The rodeo Queen off the track won a bronze medal at the season-opening World Cup last weekend in Park City, Utah.


“My top goal is to head to the Olympics in Whistler, and wear the number one bib like I did four years ago,” said Hollingsworth, who won the overall World Cup title during the 2006 campaign. “I continue to get better each race, and I hope to take what I’ve learned in these first two weeks with me to Europe.”


Hollingsworth was joined on the podium by Shelley Rudman, of Great Britain who solidified the silver medal with a time of 1:55.08. Germany’s Marion Trott rounded out the women’s podium in third at 1:55.13.


Two other Canadian women also squeaked into the prestigious top-eight, chalking up another Olympic qualifier under their names. Canada’s 32-year-old Amy Gough, of Abbotsford, B.C., clocked a two-run time of 1:56.01 to put her in sixth spot, while Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., was tied for seventh at 1:56.06. Gough was also on the podium last weekend in Park City, where she won her first ever World Cup silver medal.


The Canadian squad is working together as a team to stay in the top-two nations in the world, which will guarantee them three sleds in the Olympic race this February in Whistler, B.C.


Meanwhile, the Canadian men struggled to find the fast line to the podium on the challenging Lake Placid track on Friday. Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., finished as the top Canuck in 12th spot at 1:52.33. The 2006 Olympic silver medallist of Calgary, Jeff Pain, finished 13th at 1:52.55, while Toronto’s Mike Douglas was 17th (1:53.21).


Germany grabbed the first two spots on the men’s podium with Frank Rommel setting the time to beat at 1:50.88, and Sandro Stielicke stopping the clock at 1:51.36 for the silver medal. Latvia’s Martins Dukurs also hopped onto the podium for the second straight week, posting a third-place time of 1:51.37.


The World Cup continues on Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y., with men’s and women’s bobsleigh action.


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Top-Five Women’s Results:

1.Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 1:54.85; 2. Shelley Rudman, GBR, 1:55.08; 3. Marion Trott, GER, 1:55.13; 4. Amy Williams, GBR, 1:55.36; 5. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 1:55.58

Other Canadian Results:

6. Amy Gough, Abbotsford, B.C., 1:56.01; T7. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 1:56.06.


Top-Five Men’s Results:

1. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:50.88; 2. Sandro Stielicke, GER, 1:51.36; 3. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:51.37; 4. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 1:51.50; 5. Eric Bernotas, USA, 1:51.71.

Canadian Results:

12. Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., 1:52.33; 13. Jeff Pain, Calgary, 1:52.55; 17. Mike Douglas, Toronto, 1:53.21.