Canada’s Cynthia Appiah Blasts to Bobsleigh Bronze in Austria
IGLS, Aut.—Cynthia Appiah jumped onto the bronze-medal step of the women’s monobob podium on a track in Igls, Austria where her World Cup career as a pilot began.
“My World Cup debut as a pilot was here in 2019 and I’ve had a love-hate relationship since,” said Appiah, one the most explosive starters in the world. “It’s starters track so it is where I should really shine, but today is the first time I’ve been on the podium. I’ve always been just short, so to finally do it is like getting the monkey off my back.”
With Valentine’s Day just days away, it is only fitting the 32-year-old Olympian settled her differences with the 14-corner Austrian chute, but it didn’t come without one final spat.
Appiah was three spots off the podium in sixth place after a disappointing opening run.
“That first run wasn’t the greatest, but I knew I was in striking distance,” added Appiah.
A little self-talk and a pat on the back from coach Lyndon Rush, and her relationship with the 1,428-metre slithering sheet of ice was rekindled.
“Lyndon came to the start house after the first run, which he doesn’t normally do, and had me go over the run one more time. I really think that was the difference,” said Appiah. “I came out in that second run, and I felt like I was back in the zone. When I came through, I knew I put down a solid one.”
She sure did.
The determined Canuck bolted off the start block, clocking the top sprint time, which propelled her to the fastest downtime in the second heat at 54.63. The sizzling slide bumped her up three spots in the standings, securing her the final spot on the podium at 1:49.42.
“Sometimes that underdog feeling helps when I think ‘I’m not out of it yet. Everyone watch out, I’m coming through,’ said Appiah. “But I know myself and what I’m capable of – it’s just a matter of putting it down and showing everyone.
“All three of our coaches, Lyndon, Elfje (Willemsen) and Justin (Kripps) have been amazing this year and play a big part in these results. They all bring their own strengths to the table, but they also do the job of a shrink for us which I know isn’t in their job description,” laughed Appiah. “Sometimes as pilots we think the sky is falling, but they’ve all been there. They have all had coaches picking them up at one point so sometimes it is just a short talk like today telling me it is okay and to just clean up a certain part and that is all that is needed.”
Germany’s Lisa Buckwitz won the gold medal with a time of 1:49.20. Australia’s Breeana Walker held off a hard-charging Appiah to claim the silver medal at 1:49.38.
It was the fourth podium of the season this year for Canada’s Appiah. She has racked up three bronze medals after rocketing into the season with a silver on her home track in Whistler. The four-medal haul puts her in third place in the Overall World Cup monobob standings with just one race remaining next weekend in Sigulda, Latvia.
“I’m happy with where I’m at. I wish I was a bit closer to the top of the standings, but that crash in Lake Placid (earlier this season) cost me a bit,” she said. “I’m still in third and I’ve created some breathing room from my competitors so I’m looking forward to Sigulda and hopefully get my hands on a Crystal Globe.”
Ottawa’s Pat Norton piloted the only Canadian sled to a 14th-place finish in the first of back-to-back four-man races in Igls. Norton and his crew of Chris Ashley, David Caixeiro and Mathieu Gosselin stopped the clock at 1:42.46.
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Thorsten Margis and Alexander Schueller slid into the winner’s circle with a time of 1:40.65.
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 – Karbon and Joe Rocket Canada – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.