ST. MORITZ, Switzerland â€” Canada’s Mirela Rahneva won her first career skeleton World Cup title Friday, sliding to victory in just her fifth race on the circuit.
Rahneva, from Ottawa, posted a commanding two-run time of two minutes, 16.53 seconds on the only non-refrigerated track in the world.
“It means a lot to be able to get my first win on this track. It is such a special place,” Rahneva said. “I was really able to focus this week, and I knew what I needed to do on the track. I did all the right little tweaks that we practised in training and it came together today. I’m overwhelmed and it was a great day.”
Kendall Wesenberg of the United States was 1.83 back, while Janine Flock of Austria was third, trailing by 1.98 in the city which is considered the birthplace of skeleton.
“This place really is so special. The track is so smooth and the place is decked out every year,” Rahneva said. “Being natural ice it is different every year, but I was able to adapt and learn quickly this week on a challenging track.
“We all just appreciate the work that is done behind the scenes here and the tradition of this place. I am so privileged to be able to slide here, and win.”
Calgary’s Elisabeth Vathje, who has two World Cup victories under her belt this year, narrowly missed the podium in fourth at 2:18.53.
Jacqueline Loelling of Germany retained her overall standings lead despite placing eighth. Flock stands second with three races left.
In the men’s event, World Cup leader Martins Dukurs edged Yun Sungbin by 0.03 seconds.
Yun could not hold a first-run lead of 0.22 as he sought to repeat his victory last year on the Olympia track, which gave South Korea a first win in World Cup history.
Nikita Tregybov of Russia was third Friday, trailing Dukurs by 0.55 seconds.
Barrett Martineau was the top Canadian in 11th.
â€” With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press