John Fairbairn Slides to Career-Best Sixth Place Finish at Skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid

—Mellisa Hollingsworth slides to eighth in World Cup return, Team Kripps eighth in men’s two-man bobsleigh—


LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Canada’s John Fairbairn had the result of his life when it counted most.

In a fight to earn a spot on Canada’s Olympic squad, the 29-year-old Calgarian slid to a sixth-place finish with a two-run time of 1:48.56 at the Skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“I felt like I had two solid pushes and two solid runs today. The second run for me is about as good as it gets,” said Fairbairn. “I raced better than I trained this week and that is a good thing. Lake Placid is a tricky track. Others made mistakes and I was clean, and that was the difference.”

Fairbairn, who is the only Canadian male to secure a spot on the World Cup squad each year since the 2010 Games, earned his first top-six Olympic qualifier after clocking the third-fastest run (54.13) in his second bomb down the challenging 1,455-metre Lake Placid track.

“It was a huge relief to get one of those top-six spots because I was the only guy on the team that didn’t have one and it was a bit nerve wracking,” added Fairbairn. “To get one in the last race of our qualifying period is thrilling. It doesn’t fully qualify me, but I did everything I can, and now it is up to the coaches to see if I deserve a spot on the Olympic Team.”

Matthew Antoine, of the United States, won with a time of 1:47.58. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov slid to the silver medal at 1:48.21, while Latvia’s Tomass Dukers rounded out the men’s podium in third with a time of 1:48.34.

Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., placed 14th at 1:49.34, while Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., was 26th and did not qualify for the second run.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth made her return to the World Cup for the first time this year. Hollingsworth made an early statement after posting the third-fastest time in the opening run at 55.97. The Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Cup champion dropped five spots on her second run into eighth spot overall with a time of 1:52.36.

American Noelle Pikus-Pace swept the golden step of the podium on American tracks after posting a winning time of 1:51.37. Germany’s Anja Huber was second at 1:51.83, while Elizabeth Yarnold, of Great Britain, slid to a bronze-medal time of 1:51.88.

Earlier in the day, Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., matched his career-best finish as pilot of the Canada 3 sled. Kripps and Toronto’s Tim Randall teamed up for an eight-place result with a time of 1:51.86.

Americans Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton finished on top for the third straight week with a time of 1:50.62. Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann snagged the silver at 1:51.25, while Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson, slid to the podium for the second-straight week, winning the bronze medal with a time of 1:51.26.

Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Saskatchewan and Edmonton\'s Neville Wright were ninth at 1:51.86, while Calgary\'s Chris Spring teamed up with Ottawa\'s Cody Sorensen to place 12th at 1:52.22.

The World Cup continues on Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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Complete Results:

Top-Five Men’s Skeleton Results:

1. Antoine Matthew, USA, 1:47.58; 2. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:48.21; 3. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 1:48.34; 4. John Daly, USA, 1:48.37; 5. Frank Rommel, GER, 1:48.39.

Canadian Results:

6. John Fairbairn, Calgary, 1:48.56; 14. Eric Neilson, Kelowna, B.C., 1:49.34; 26. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Ont., DNQ for second run


Top-Five Women’s Skeleton Results:

1. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 1:51.37; 2. Anja Huber, GER, 1:51.83; 3. Elizabeth Yarnold, GBR, 1:51.88; 4. Katharine Eustace, NZL, 1:52.16; 5. Marion Thees, GER, 1:52.19

Canadian Results:

8. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 1:52.36; T14. Sarah Reid, Calgary, 1:52.79; 18. Robynne Thompson, Calgary, 1:53.69


Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:

1. Steven Holcomb/Steven Langton, USA, 1:50.62; 2. Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann, SUI, 1:51.25; 3. Nick Cunningham/Dallas Robinson, USA, 1:51.26; 4. Cory Butner/Charles Berkeley, USA, 1:51.43; 5. Alexander Zubkov/Dmitry Trunenkov, RUS, 1:51.54.

Canadian Results:

8. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Tim Randall, Toronto, CAN 3, 1:51.86; 9.   Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Neville Wright, Edmonton, CAN 1, 1:52.01; 12.

Chris Spring, Calgary/Cody Sorensen, Ottawa, CAN 2, 1:52.22.