Mirela Rahneva Finishes Third Overall on Skeleton World Cup

Canada’s World Championship bronze medallist slides to sixth in final race of season, Jane Channell ninth

SIGULDA, Lat.—Canada’s Mirela Rahneva captured a Crystal Globe for finishing third overall on the World Cup skeleton circuit following a sixth-place finish in Sigulda, Latvia Friday.

“That is the exciting part. It feels good but it could have been better,” said Rahneva.

The Ottawa resident locked up third spot in the overall standings with 1,515 points. It is the third Crystal Globe of her career. The two-time Olympian also finished third in the 2019 and 2017 seasons.

“I would say it was one of my better seasons. My first year in 2017 was successful too, but the expectations weren’t there,” added Rahneva, who was fifth one year ago at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. “This year I wanted to fight because I was so close at the Olympics.

“We have so much history in skeleton in Canada and I wanted to prove we are competitive, but we’ve had some challenging years. The whole purpose this year was to prove to the world that Canada is still here and we can be successful.”

The 34-year-old and her teammates accomplished that goal, highlighted by a bronze medal finish for Rahneva, and having two women including Jane Channell, in the top-six at the World Championships.

“I think that is one of our best World Championships as a team with two girls in the top-six which is huge,” said Rahneva. “It takes time to develop talent and I think those results prove we can do it, we can be in the top-six, we just need the time. It took me six years to get that World Championship medal. The learning curve takes a bit longer. Canada has it, will have it, we have the knowledge here. We have just have to channel it, and be patient with athlete development.”

Rahneva also slid to a victory in Park City, and a second-place finish in Winterberg. She was in the podium hunt throughout the second half of the season where she also rattled off three, fourth-place finishes.

“Every race I was within the top-eight. I think my two highest finishes were on home tracks in Whistler and Lake Placid. That expectation of training well, doing well – I think I got ahead of myself. I look at those races and so many fourths as missed opportunities left on the table. I just couldn’t hold it together on some of those tracks.”

That was no different on Friday where she clocked a combined sixth-place time of 1:44.03.

Rahneva was poised to pounce onto her fourth podium of the season after throwing down the second-fast time in the opening heat on the tricky 16-corner track in Sigulda.

A dream ending to a solid season wasn’t meant to be as she struggled through the bottom portion of the 1,420-metre track in the final heat, dropping her to sixth place.

“I tried to let the sled run a little bit and I think I let it run a bit too much. I missed a steer out of (corner) 13 and I had to pay for it. You just can’t make a mistake like that in Sigulda, or you pay,” she said.

Tina Hermann locked up first place in the overall standings (1620 points) with her fourth victory of the season. The German clocked a winning time of 1:43.65.

Laura Deas, of Great Britain, was second at 1:43.70. Belgium’s Kim Meylemans claimed the bronze at 1:43.88.

A fourth-place finish on Friday was enough to secure Kimberley Bos second place overall in the 2022-23 season. The Netherlands slider raced to a total of 1,562 points.

North Vancouver’s Jane Channell was fast off the starting block in both runs in the final race of the season while sliding to ninth place with a combined time of 1:44.33. A two-time Olympian, Channell finished eighth in the overall World Cup standings with 1,074 points.

Calgary’s Blake Enzie was the lone Canadian in the men’s race. The 2022 Olympian posted a two-run time of 1:42.44 for 18th place.

Matt Weston, of Great Britain, was back on top in the men’s race with a winning time of 1:40.39. His teammate, Marcus Wyatt, slid to the silver medal at 1:40.75 while Germany’s Christopher Grotheer locked up the bronze medal at 1:41.02.