Top News

Canada's Elisabeth Vathje opens World Cup skeleton season with silver medal

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada's Elisabeth Vathje won a silver medal at the first World Cup women's skeleton race of the Olympic season Thursday.

She finished second behind Austria's Janine Flock with a two-run time of one minute 50.39 seconds. Flock (1:50.13), who broke her own Mount Van Hoevenberg track record, won gold for the second straight season in Lake Placid while reigning Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold of Britain was third in 1:50.46.

Vathje, from Calgary, got off the ice and leaped into her mother's arms in celebration. Vathje hasn't yet qualified for the Pyeongchang Games, but the result obviously was a major boost in that effort.

"She's going to be at all the races this year," Vathje said of her mother, Rita. "She gets accreditation so she can be part of the action and she's a massive part to my success. She just keeps me chill and helps me be such a head case. So I'm really thankful for her — and thankful she can catch me."

Flock, who has also claimed a silver and a bronze in previous stops at this event, always seems right at home in Lake Placid.

"It's a hard and a tough track," Flock said. "I like to be more focused and more concentrated, because it's very hard. It's very rough, it's bumpy, it's not good for your head. But it's a special, nice track with nice, round, cool rhythm. Yes, I love Placid."

That was evident less than a minute into her season.

Flock's first run was 54.69 seconds, taking 0.15 seconds off the track mark that she set last month — and was a time that ended up more than three-tenths of a second better than any other slider's best on Thursday.

She was significantly slower in the second run, yet still prevailed by 0.26 seconds.

"It's awesome. It's the best thing that can happen for me," Flock said. "It's the best thing when you start the season with a good result."

Jane Channell of North Vancouver, B.C., was sixth and Mirela Rahneva of Ottawa was seventh. Reigning World Cup overall champion Jacqueline Lolling of Germany was eighth.

The top American was Katie Uhlaender, who finished ninth. Savannah Graybill was 11th and Kendall Wesenberg took 14th for the U.S.

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Recent Stories