Jeff Pain Slides Short of Podium at Skeleton World Cup in Germany
ALTENBERG, Ger.—Jeff Pain led a charge of Canadian skeleton athletes into the top-10, while sliding a hair short of the podium at the World Cup in Altenberg, Germany on Friday.
The 39-year-old Calgarian, who won a bronze medal two weeks ago in Cesana, Italy, posted the fastest time in the opening heat at 58.24 en route to finishing fourth with a combined time of one minute 56.78 seconds.
“In the big picture, finishing fourth is definitely a good result, but when you’re leading after the first run it is a little disappointing,” said Pain, who struggled out of corner four, which he describes as the toughest corner in the world, on his second trip down the Altenberg Track. “This is kind of how the first half of the season has been going where I have one good run, but I need to be consistent.”
The Olympic silver medallist, who is creating a Cinderella story while climbing his way back to the top of the international rankings after not making the World Cup team two years, is content with the first half of his season.
“Again looking at the big picture the goal is to peak in the second half of the season,” said Pain. “My focus was to work some things out in these races and get my Olympic qualifiers. I have accomplished that, now I’m looking forward to the second part of the year.”
Germany’s Michi Halilovic finished on top in the men’s race with a two-run time of 1:56.39. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov was second at 1:46.60, while Germany’s Frank Rommel was slid to the bronze with a time of 1:56.63.
Two other Canadian men also hit the start line. Jon Montgomery, of Russell, Man., was seventh after clocking-in at 1:57.01, while Toronto’s Mike Douglas finished 11th (1:57.38).
All three Canadian women joined Pain and Montgomery in the top-10. Battling the flu that has ripped its way through Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton teams, Mellisa Hollingsworth, of Eckville, Alta., finished off the podium for the first time this year, but held on for a sixth-place finish with a combined time of 2:00.58.
Amy Gough, of Abbotsford, B.C., was in striking distance of her second podium finish of the year after posting the second-fastest time in the first heat, and finished seventh at 2:00.66. Michelle Kelly, of Fort St. John, B.C., posted the final Canadian women’s sled in top-10 after clocking a 10th-place time of 2:01.63.
The German women swept the podium on their home track. Kerstin Szymkowiak slid to the gold medal with a time of 1:59.50. Marion Trott was second at 2:00.21, while Anja Huber completed the sweep after stopping the clock at 2:00.28.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Altenberg, Germany, with men’s and women’s bobsleigh action.
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FOR COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Results:
Kerstin Szymkowiak, GER, 1:59.50; 2. Marion Trott, GER, 2:00.21; 3. Anja Huber, GER, 2:00.28; 4. Amy Williams, GBR, 2:00.35; 5. Maya Pedersen, SUI, 2:00.48.
Other Canadian Results:
6. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 2:00.58; 7. Amy Gough, Abbotsford, B.C., 2:00.66; 10. Michelle Kelly, Fort St. John, B.C., 2:01.63.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Michi Halilovic, GER, 1:56.39; 2. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:56.60; 3. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:56.63; 4. Jeff Pain, Calgary, CAN, 1:56.78; 5. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:56.90
7. Jon Montgomery, 1:57.02; 11. Mike Douglas, Toronto, 1:57.38