2018 Olympic Skeleton Preview

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Olympic Skeleton
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 07: Elisabeth Vathje of Canada practices during Women's Skeleton training ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

In the history of skeleton at the Olympic Winter Games, Canada has won four medals. At the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Canada won three medals—a gold and silver respectively from Duff Gibson of Vaughan, Ontario and Jeff Pain of Calgary, Alberta in men’s skeleton and a bronze medal from Mellisa Hollingsworth of Lacombe, Alberta in women’s skeleton. Then at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, every Canadian sports fan would remember Jon Montgomery of Russell, Manitoba walking down the Whistler street with a pitcher of beer in his hand after celebrating his gold medal. It was considered one of the most iconic moments in the history of Canadian sports.

At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, it was a rebuilding time for Canadian skeleton. John Fairbairn of Calgary finished seventh in men’s skeleton, while Sarah Reid of Calgary was seventh and Melissa Hollingsworth of Lacombe, Alberta was 11th. Fairbairn, Reid and Hollingsworth temporarily climbed the standings after Russians were originally disqualified for a doping violation, but had their original results restored when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favour of the Russians on appeal.

2018 Olympic Skeleton Preview

Over the last Olympic cycle, the Canadian women have done very well with Elisabeth Vathje of Calgary, Alberta, Mirela Rahneva of Ottawa, Ontario and Jane Channell of Vancouver, British Columbia all legitimate Olympic medal contenders.

Vathje won a bronze medal in women’s skeleton at the 2015 World Skeleton Championships in Winterberg, Germany. She has also performed very well on the World Cup circuit the last four years. In 2014-15, Vathje had four World Cup podiums including her first World Cup win in Calgary. The following season in 2015-16, Vathje improved from 10th to ninth in the World Cup standings but did not reach the podium. In 2016-2017, Vathje finished fifth in the World Cup standings and recorded victories in Whistler and Winterberg. Then in 2017-18, Vathje improved her consistency and finished third in the World Cup standings. She won the silver medal in Lake Placid, Winterberg and Innsbruck and won the bronze medal in St. Moritz.

Rahneva has reached the World Cup podium five times since December of 2016. She had her first podium finish in Lake Placid on December 17, 2016, with a bronze medal. The third place finish was followed by a bronze medal in Winterberg, Germany on January 15, 2017, her first World Cup victory in St. Moritz on January 20, 2017, a silver medal in Innsbruck on February 3, 2017 and another medal in Innsbruck this past season. This time it was a bronze medal on December 15, 2017. Rahneva was also third in the 2016-17 World Cup standings.

Channell’s best skeleton season was 2015-16, when she finished third in the World Cup standings. She won a silver medal in Park City and a bronze medal in Winterberg. This past November, Channell earned her third World Cup medal when she won silver in Whistler.

OLYMPIC SKELETON PREDICTIONS

MEN

GOLD—Sungbin Yun—South Korea
SILVER—Martins Dukurs—Latvia
BRONZE—Axel Jungk—Germany

WOMEN

GOLD—Jacqueline Loelling—Germany
SILVER—Tina Hermann—Germany
BRONZE—Elisabeth Vathje—Canada

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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