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Hollingsworth takes bronze in skeleton World Cup opener

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Melissa Hollingsworth has been hurling herself face-first down sliding tracks for 17 years now, and knows how to recover from an error. The result this past weekend at Igls, Austria was a bronze medal for the 31-year-old Albertan skeleton athlete — the 27th medal of her career.

"I messed up my first start where I lost quite a bit oomph, but I still had a personal best with that mistake so I'm happy with it today," she said.

"I was interested to see how things would play out with my summer because I haven't done all the training that I normally do at this time, but I felt really prepared and calm today."

Hollingsworth was a little preoccupied this summer taking up a new sport — professional rodeo, where she competes in the barrel racing event.

"Before the race I was thinking a lot about my horses and drew on every one of those learning experiences I had in that new competitive environment for me this summer. I think it has really balanced my life where everything isn't skeleton and put things into perspective."

The gold medal went to Olga Potylitsina of Russia, followed by Emma Lincoln-Smith of Australia.

Two other Canadians finished in the top 12, with Sarah Reid in 10th and Amy Gough in 11th.

In women's bobsleigh, the Canada 1 sled — Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries and Emily Baadsvik — were seventh overall. The top three spots went to the Germany 3 sled (Sandra Kiriasis and Petra Lammert), the Germany 2 sled (Christina Hengster and Inga Versen) and the USA 1 sled (Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling).

The following day, the two-man squad of Lydon Rush and Jesse Lumsden finished a solid sixth in their World Cup debut as a team, while the Canada 2 sled — Chris Spring and Tim Randall — were 13th.

The win went to Swiss 1 sled (Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter), followed by Germany 1 (Thomas Florschuetz and Kevin Kuske) and the USA 1 sled (Steven Holcomb and Justin Olsen).

In skeleton, the top Canadians were Mike Douglas and Eric Neilson, who tied for seventh place. Olympic champion Jon Montgomery was not with the team, taking the season off to train and design a new race sled.

In the final four-man bobsleigh competition, Chris Spring's team was tops for Canada in 10th place.

It was the first time the team — including Tim Randall, Derek Plug and Graem Rinholm — has raced together as a team.

The Canada 1 sled, piloted by Rush, struggled on their run and placed 13th.

"Today was a combination of a new crew, a poor start and unfortunately not great driving," said Delahunty.

"It just didn't happen today, but it is not all doom and gloom... I believe this was just a minor blip and Lyndon will fight his way back into the elite group."

The Russia 1 sled took the gold, followed by the USA 1 sled and the Germany 1 sled.

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