Canada’s Helen Upperton Flies to World Cup Bobsleigh Podium with Wounded Wing
CALGARY—Canada’s Helen Upperton wasted no time getting onto the podium in her return to the World Cup bobsleigh circuit. After missing the season-opener last week, Upperton teamed up with Shelley-Ann Brown to win the bronze medal on Friday at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
The 31-year-old Calgarian, along with Shelley-Ann Brown of Pickering, Ont., both pulled out of last week’s races with injuries after Upperton crashed twice in training at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Fighting through Upperton’s separated left shoulder and Brown’s bruised ribs, the Canadian duo hopped back in the Canada 2 sled and put together a courageous medal-winning performance while bolting down the Calgary track in a two-run time of one minute 54.08 seconds (1:54.08).
“This is the first time we’ve raced Calgary in three years so I’m thrilled to get on the podium. I love competing here – this is home,” said Upperton, who captured the first of the 13 World Cup podiums in her career on the Calgary track in 2005 when she finished third. One of her four World Cup victories also came in Calgary at the 2007 World Cup. “Getting on the World Cup podium in women’s bobsleigh is really hard now. It is always something we are proud to do.”
Notorious for finishing fourth at the 2006 Olympics, the 2008 World Championships and numerous World Cups, Upperton and Brown joined forces to win the silver medal during a historic 2010 Olympic race where the Canada’s women’s sleds finished one-two.
“I am so lucky to have Shelley (Ann Brown) pushing for me. She is so fast and powerful. She is great and was key to getting us on the podium today,” said Upperton. “There was no way we were going to have two World Cup races in Canada and miss them both. I am not 100 per cent. My shoulder hurt quite a bit, but we took a lot of pain killers and I am really happy we got on the podium.”
The top two Canadian sleds both nearly found their way back onto the podium. Calgary’s Olympic gold medallist, Kaillie Humphries, piloted the Canada 1 sled with World Cup rookie Heather Hughes of Edmonton on the brakes, to fourth place with a time of 1:54.43.
Germany grabbed the top-two spots on the podium. Cathleen Martini and Berit Wiacker posted a winning time of 1:53.57. Sandra Kiriasis and Christin Senkel slipped up in their second trip down the 14-corner track to finish second at 1:53.89.
Two rookies on Canada’s national squad – Edmonton’s Mellisa These and Montreal’s Marquise Brisebois – teamed up in the Canada 3 sled to finish 13th at 1:55.45.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Lyndon Rush followed up a second-place finish last week with a fifth-place result in Calgary. Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Edmonton’s Neville Wright clocked-in at 1:50.97.
The German’s grabbed two spots on the men’s podium as well. Karl Angerer and Gregor Bermbach finished first with a time of 1:50.57, while Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau finished in a tie for the silver medal with Monoco’s Patrice Servelle and Lascelles Brown, who won their country’s first-ever World Cup medal. The two second-place finishers were deadlocked at 1:50.77.
The Viessmann Bobsleigh World Cup, presented by Visa, wraps up on Saturday in Calgary with the men’s four-man 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.