King Montgomery Strikes Gold Again in Whistler , Kaillie Humphries and Heather Hughes Win Bronze
WHISTLER, B.C.—He may not have had the same victory stroll through Whistler Village while chugging a cold pitcher of beer, but Canada’s Jon Montgomery swept the podium at the Whistler Sliding Centre and leaped onto the top step like he has done two other times after winning the season-opening World Cup skeleton event on Friday night, presented by Visa.
“Whistler is absolutely awesome and in my mind it is going to be the premier stop on the World Cup skeleton circuit,” said the Russell, Manitoba native, who celebrated the World Cup victory with the hundreds of fans that rolled into the Olympic venue. “The people of Whistler love sports. They are passionate about coming out to support us, and as an athlete, you know when the bodies are in the stands cheering you on. It is an awesome place and we love coming here.”
The 31-year-old Montgomery, who became the life of the 2010 Olympic Games party and the adopted son of Whistler, returned to his new favourite stop on the international skeleton circuit to kick off the new season where he posted a golden two-run time of one minute, 47.56 seconds to extended his streak of being the only winner in men’s skeleton on the Whistler track. Montgomery also won the Olympic test event in 2009, and his Olympic victory will be remembered as the turning point of Canada’s success at the 2010 Games.
“Before the race I did look back at some of the footage from last year’s Olympics to grab some inspiration,” said Montgomery. “I wanted to get in a good positive mindset. That’s a huge part of sliding at your best, and it helped me today. I didn’t feel any pressure today. I went out and had some fun and wanted to kick the season off on a good note.”
A stacked summer full of appearances around the world resulted in a condensed off-season training period, but Montgomery’s goals have not changed.
“Each time I go out there I want to be as flawless as I can possibly be,” said Montgomery, who had a personal best start time at the Canadian Championships in Calgary last month which gave him extra motivation. “The strength of the men’s field is so deep. These guys are so talented that I have to take advantage of these World Cups in North America to get on the podium as much as I can.”
Montgomery was joined on the podium by Kristan Bromley, of Great Britain, who bolted down the track on his second run to claim the silver with a time of 1:47.84, while Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov clocked-in at 1:47.88 to finish third.
Two other Canadian men also suited up in Whistler. World Cup rookie, John Fairbairn of Calgary, finished in 11th spot at 1:48.76, while Montgomery’s Olympic teammate, Mike Douglas of Toronto, finished 13th with a time of 1:48.88.
The medal haul continued for Canada in women’s bobsleigh.
Calgary’s Kaillie Humphries, who also won Olympic gold during the memorable Canadian one-two finish at the Games in Whistler, was poised to repeat her golden performance in Whistler after clocking the fastest opening run. But Canada’s golden girl made an error during her second run down the challenging 16-corner track, and hung on for the bronze medal with a two-run time of 1:48.17.
“It wasn’t as consistent as I’d like to be. Our first run was good, but I made one mistake and it cost me. That is how racing should be,” said Humphries, who finished second overall on the World Cup last year. “Heather <Hughes> and I did well for our first race together and we will get better.”
With her Olympic teammate Heather Moyse on the sidelines with a foot injury, the 25-year-old pilot teamed up with rookie brakeman, Heather Hughes of Edmonton, who had a brilliant debut on the World Cup helping Humphries post two of the fastest start times of the day.
“Heather came in here and did great posting start times close to Heather Moyse, which is brilliant,” said Tom De La Hunty, head coach, Canadian Bobsleigh Team. “One mistake on this track and you are done, but we are happy with the girls’ performance.”
Germany’s legendary Sandra Kiriasis won the first women’s race of the season. Kiriasis teamed up with Stephanie Schneider to slide the Germany 1 sled to the gold medal position on the podium with a time of 1:47.70. Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming of the United States teamed up to win the silver at 1:47.99
Calgary’s Melissa These competed in her first World Cup with Ottawa’s Diane Kelly and finished in 12th spot with a two-run time of 1:50.50.
The Whistler World Cup wraps up on Saturday at the Whistler Sliding Centre with men’s four-man bobsleigh race.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners - VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, Schenker Canada - along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.