Mirela Rahneva Strikes Gold at Skeleton World Cup in Sigulda
SIGULDA, Lat.—Canada’s Mirela Rahneva slid to the fifth World Cup victory of her career and first of the season in Sigulda, Latvia.
The Ottawa rocketed to a winning two-run time of 1:43.10 on the 16-corner track. It was the fifth career World Cup podium for Rahneva for the two-time Olympian.
“I needed a little win,” said Rahneva, who hadn’t slid onto the podium since the first race of the season where she was third. “I’m really proud of pursuing something that I knew I was capable of doing.”
“Sometimes you can get in your head a bit, but it is important to drown those thoughts and get grounded. I am very happy I was able to do that today.”
Rahneva has typically struggled to crack the top-10 on the technically challenging Sigulda chute in her seven
years on the World Cup. One year ago, she was poised to conquer the 1,200-metre beast while sitting in second place after the first run, but mistakes in the final heat dropped her to sixth.
“This is a track I have been trying to tame for many years,” added Rahneva. “It is a difficult track, a drivers track, but I was comfortable with my environment this week. I was gaining confidence in training and started to believe in things.”
The 35-year-old focused on process and consistency while sitting in third place after her first run.
“It is a lot of pressure sitting in the top-three at the top of the track after the first run. It is never comfortable. You are always thinking don’t mess it up, just stay here. It is definitely a lot of work to not think about the result but think about the process,” added Rahneva.
“Today, I was just thinking one corner at a time, finding the opportunities to go faster, and stay consistent.”
That she was.
A fifth-place start time combined with the second-fastest run overall in the final heat catapulted her to the top spot of the women’s skeleton podium after watching the world’s best cross the finish line behind her.
First run leader, Kim Meylemans of Belgium, dropped to the silver medal position at 1:43.38 following a a costly mistake at the end of the second attempt. Germany’s Hannah Neise snagged the bronze medal at 1:43.41.
Canada’s Hallie Clarke, of Brighton, Ont., put down the fourth-fastest run in the second heat to secure eighth spot at 1:43.85. Jane Channell, of North Vancouver, placed 17th at 1:44.50 in her return to the World Cup.
Calgary’s Blake Enzie was the top Canadian in the men’s race, finishing 24th at 1:43.38. Newfoundlander Mark Lynch was 33rd in his first World Cup start of the season.
China’s Zheng Yin won the men’s race with a time of 1:40.82.
Cynthia Appiah and Leah Walkeden Slide to Seventh in Women’s Bobsleigh
Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah and Edmonton’s Leah Walkeden teamed up for their best two-woman bobsleigh finish of the season, placing seventh.
The Canadian duo combined for top-six start times in their two runs. Appiah navigated the technical Sigulda track in a two-heat time of 1:42.49.
Calgary’s Bianca Ribi and Toronto’s Niamh Haughey stopped the clock at 1:43.13 for 13th spot.
Germany’s Kim Kalicki and Leonie Fiebig took the gold with a time of 1:41.53.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Sigulda.
Complete Women’s Skeleton Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/result/503387/?cHash=c213c68980a858969b4d95127e3d6123
Complete Men’s Skeleton Results:
Complete Two-Women’s Bobsleigh Results:
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 – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops champions in the community, on and off the track, who have a passion for bobsleigh and skeleton. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.