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Huge weekend for sliders

Bobsleigh/skeleton athletes win four in Whistler; luge athletes net two podiums in Austria



Canada's goal at the 2014 Olympic Games is to match or exceed our results from the Games in 2010, placing first overall for gold medals and third for total medals in Sochi, Russia. The sliding sports — bobsleigh, skeleton and luge — were responsible for four of Canada's medals, including two gold, and will have to make a sizeable contribution again in 2014 to boost the team's chances.

Judging from this past weekend at a World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton race in Whistler and at a luge World Cup in Austria, the team has the potential to do that and more. In Whistler, athletes won medals at four out of five races with some athletes making history and setting personal bests. In Austria, lugers won medals at two of three events, including a silver medal in the new team event.

Sarah Reid takes skeleton silver

Canada's Sarah Reid earned the silver Friday in the women's skeleton event at Whistler Sliding Centre on Nov. 23, the first competition of the weekend at the Viessman FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup.

Canada had a shot at a double or even a triple podium in the event. After the first run, Germany's Marion Thees was sitting first while the Canadians, Cassie Hawrysh, Reid and Mellisa Hollingsworth were second, third and fourth respectively.

But Thees wasn't giving up her lead without a fight and put down a fast second run to secure the gold medal with a time of 1:50.92. Reid finished her day in second place in 1:51.09, while Cassie Hawrysh made a mistake that bumped her back two spots to fourth in 1:51.19.

Mellisa Hollingsworth also made a mistake to move into fifth in 1:51.19, while Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain put down the fastest second run of the day to move up into third overall.

In skeleton, the top six are recognized on the podium with Canadian sliders filling out three of the six spots.

Reid had not been on the World Cup podium before this season and now has two silver medals in her first three races. She was very satisfied with her day.

"I'm really excited," she said. "Coming into the race I had a talk with my coaches after Salt Lake City, which wasn't a great race for me. I wanted to put pressure on myself this week, and set high goals for myself."

Hawrysh, a rookie who has already been in the top five twice, was disappointed to miss out on a podium, but said she's still learning from every race.

"I was steering too hard, to be honest," she said. "But it's been great (this season), a great learning experience. Each race has taught me some new lessons."

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