ST.MORITZ, Sui.—Canada’s Sarah Reid topped off a stellar year after rocketing to the bronze medal at the Skeleton World Championships in St. Moritiz, Switzerland on Friday.
Sitting well back of the podium in eighth place after the first run of the four-heat race, the 25-year-old Calgarian rattled off three solid runs down the 1,700-metre naturally chute of ice to secure the first World Championship medal of her career with a time of four minutes, 40.01 seconds (4:40.01).
“I’m absolutely thrilled. I have no words,” beamed the pint-sized Canuck after clocking runs in the top-three in her final three blows down the track.
“To be truthful, I thought about a medal before the race but being eighth in the first run I thought it wasn’t possible. Then I put down three good runs ands I am just so happy.”
Slowly picking her way closer to the podium, Reid was .10 out of third place heading into the final run.
“Even after the first day it was so tight that I knew I could climb up but I didn’t know if I could medal,” added Reid. “Duff <Gibson – coach> and I had a chat between the third and fourth run and he said ‘the person who has the best run will get the medal.”
Shelley Rudman, of Great Britain, was crowned world champion after clocking a golden time of 4:38.60. Noelle Pikus-Pace, of the United States, celebrated the silver medal at 4:39.17.
Two-time World Cup champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Mellisa Hollingsworth of Eckville, Alta., came up just shy of the podium finishing fifth with a time of 4:40.36.
“I was happy to have a final good run, but it is extremely obvious to me that I have to focus on skeleton and get training this summer,” said Hollingsworth, who has also been competing in rodeo. “I missed the medals because of my start. The coaches are extremely supportive and we are getting my new sled in the lineup. I was getting used to it but just wasn’t confident enough on it yet.”
World Cup rookie, Cassie Hawrysh, of Brandon, Man., posted a 12th-place finish at 4:42.59.
Having slid for 10 years, Reid has enjoyed a breakthrough this season this year with her new sled designed by British skeleton ace Kristan Bromley. Reid kicked off the pre-Olympic season with her first career World Cup medal by winning the season-opener in Lake Placid. She slid to the silver medal position of the podium two weeks later in Whistler, B.C., and added one more silver medal to her mantle before the holiday break in La Plagne, France.
But nothing matches reaching the podium at the stunning sliding sport Temple in St. Moritz – the only non-refrigerated track in the world that has played host to the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Winter Games.
“It is super cool to win a medal here. This is where the sport was born and it is such a special track,” said Reid. “This year really feels surreal. I always felt I could medal at Worlds, but I didn’t expect it at the beginning of the year.”
Reid first turned heads in the skeleton world in 2008 when she became the first Canadian to win the Junior World Championships. Fighting for a breakthrough in her career, the young Canuck who is one of the most respected individuals in the sport, split time on the World Cup and Intercontinental Cup circuits for four seasons leading into last year where she became a full-timer on Canada’s elite squad.
“I always felt like I was on the cusp of the top-10 and now I am in a completely different headspace where I am fighting for the podium and that is really exciting,” said Reid. “This is a big confidence booster for me in my training, my equipment and my start.”
The World Championships continue on Saturday in St. Moritz where the top men’s skeleton athletes will complete their final two runs. Olympic gold medallist, Jon Montgomery, leads the Canucks in seventh after the opening day of competition.
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 – Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Conceptum Sport Logistics, 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. Shelley Rudman, GBR, 4.38.60; 2. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 4:39.17; 3. Sarah Reid, Calgary, CAN, 4:40.01; 4. Elizabeth Yarnold, GBR, 4:40.14; 5. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., 4:40.36.
Other Canadian Results:
12. Cassie Hawrysh, Brandon, Man., 4:42.59