Mellisa Hollingsworth Wins Skeleton Gold in France
—Canadian men’s bobsleds storm top-10 finishing fifth and sixth—
LA PLAGNE, Fra.—Mellisa Hollingsworth ended a two-year victory drought on the World Cup skeleton circuit after capturing the gold medal in La Plagne, France on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Hollingsworth chalked up her sixth World Cup victory after posting a two-run time of two minutes, 06.09 seconds (2:06.09) down the 1,507-metre track carved out in a valley of the French Alps. Hollingsworth’s last victory came during the 2010 Olympic year in Konigssee, Germany.
“It was a good one and first in a long time so I’m really happy,” said Hollingsworth, who hadn’t raced in La Plagne since the last time the World Cup stopped in the French town back in 2000. “Things have changed so much and I don’t remember anything. It was a really intense week of learning with the team walking the track and watching video which was exhausting so this is nice to win.”
Two American athletes joined Hollingsworth on the podium. Anne O’Shea slid to the silver medal with a time of 2:06.46. Katie Uhlaender clocked-in at 2:06.64 to place third.
The adrenaline junkie drew on her experience of being a rookie on the professional rodeo circuit this summer to help her win in unfamiliar territory in France.
“I was in a completely different place today and recalled a lot of the challenges I had running Pepi (her horse) this summer,” said Hollingsworth, who was third last week in Igls, Austria. “I’ve been following the National Finals Rodeo that is going on in Las Vegas right now and I really believe the energy and whole experience in rodeo is what has propelled me this season.”
It was the 29th World Cup podium finish of Hollingsworth’s illustrious 17-year career that has included 83 races on the elite circuit, two Olympic and eight World Championship starts. In addition to her medals won on the World Cup, Hollingsworth has two Overall World Cup titles, two World Championship medals and an Olympic bronze on her resume.
“If there is one thing I am most proud of in my career it is my consistency of getting on the podium and knowing that I can be in the medals on any type of track,” said Hollingsworth. “I’m not a monster on the push. Today I was sixth fastest so I’m average but I really feel confident in my equipment and that is important. It is so hard to win out here. Anytime you are in the top-six you should be happy because the field is so deep.”
Two other Canadian sleds entered the women’s race on Saturday. Calgary’s Sarah Reid finished in eighth place at 2:07.25, while Amy Gough, of Abbotsford, B.C., placed 12th with a time of 2:07.81.
Canada’s two sleds on the men’s two-man bobsleigh circuit also made a charge for the podium. Veteran Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., teamed up with Edmonton’s Neville Wright to clock the fifth fastest two-run time. The Canadian duo posted a time of 1:59.41.
The bright spot on the day for the Canucks came in the Canada 2 sled piloted by World Cup rookie Chris Spring. In just his second World Cup race, the 27-year-old joined forces with Calgary’s Derek Plug to a sixth-place result with a two-run time of 1:59.48. The Spring crew finished 10th in their first four-man race last weekend.
Germany’s Thomas Florschuetz and Kevin Kuske won the men’s race with a time of 1:58.50. Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton, of the United States, won the silver at 1:58.85, while Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter slid to the final step on the podium in third (1:58.91).
The World Cup wraps up on Sunday in France with the men’s four-man race.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and 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, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Therapeutica – 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.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Skeleton Results:
1. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 2:06.09; 2. Anne O’Shea, USA, 2:06.46; 3. Katie Uhlaender, USA, 2:06.64; 4. Anja Huber, GER, 2:06.78; 5. Marion Thees, GER, 2:06.79
Other Canadian Results:
8. Sarah Reid, Calgary, 2:07.25; 12. Amy Gough, Abbotsford, B.C., 2:07.81
Top-Five Men’s Bobsleigh Results:
1. Florschuetz/Kuske, GER 1, 1:58.50; 2. Holcomb/Langton, USA 1, 1:58.85; 3. Hefti/Lamparter, SUI 1, 1:58.91; 4. Arndt/Putze, GER 2, 1:59.20; 5. Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Wright, Edmonton/CAN 1, 1:59.41.
Other Canadian Results:
6. Spring, Calgary/Plug, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:59.48