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Canada wins four sliding medals at Whistler World Cup

Jon Montgomery golden once again on world's fastest sliding track



Canada's status as a leading nation in the sliding sports appears to be secure for the near future, with athletes earning four medals at last week's Viessman FIBT Boblsleigh and Skeleton World Cup in Whistler. The competition opened the World Cup season, as well as the next four-year cycle leading to the 2014 Winter Games.

But while Canada did well, Germany's medal count showed a depth of experience and talent that other countries will be hard-pressed to match.

The opening event on Thursday, Nov. 25 was the women's skeleton, with Mellisa Hollingsworth looking for redemption. Last February she dropped from second place to fifth after making a few critical mistakes in her last run in the Olympics.

This time out Hollingsworth shrugged off the pressure with fast starts and smooth lines down the course. However, Marion Thees of Germany - who also had a disappointing Games - was slightly faster in both runs and finished the race in first place in 1:48.98. Hollingsworth was second in 1:49.40, while Anja Huber of Germany picked up the bronze in 1:50.07.

"No tears this time," Hollingsworth told reporters after the race. "I do feel emotional, just because I'm happy and proud that I was able to overcome what happened in February and put two solid runs together.

"You never know until you see the clock but I had a pretty good feeling that I would have kept my spot (silver) this time."

Two other Canadians finished in the top eight, with Amy Gough in the sixth spot and Sarah Reid seventh.

Once the awards were presented for skeleton, the men's two-man bobsleigh got underway. Canada's top prospect was Lyndon Rush, who was racing for the first time with brakeman Neville Wright.

There was a shakeup in bobsleigh after the 2010 Games, with Lascelles Brown leaving the Canadian program and joining Monaco - his third nation including his careers with the Jamaican Bobsled Team from 1999 to 2004 and his stint with Canada from 2004 to 2010. He earned two medals with Canada, a silver in two-man with pilot Pierre Lueders in 2006 and a bronze in 2010 with Lyndon Rush in four-man.

Wright and Rush got off to a poor start with two crashes in training, but managed to put together two solid runs to earn Canada's second silver medal of the day.

"I'm pretty happy overall," Rush said. "I just crashed on my last two runs down this track in training and beat up my equipment and beat up my body, and I came out here today looking for two good runs and that's it."