Lake Placid, N.Y. – Canada’s Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden put a silver lining on what could have been a disastrous weekend at the world bobsled and skeleton championships.
The duo raced to second place in the two-man bobsled, despite a stomach virus that nearly knocked Rush out of the competition and left a podium finish in doubt.
“Coming down the track was awful. I was gagging the whole way down,” Rush said. “Thankfully the run is only a minute long.”
Rush and Lumsden were the leaders after the first two of four races Saturday, but Americans Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton surged past the Canadians with a near-flawless third run Sunday.
Holcomb had a four-run time of 3 minutes 42.88 seconds, 0.46 seconds ahead of Rush and Lumsden.
Rush, from Humboldt, Sask., credited Lumsden’s strength for pushing the two to the podium.
“Jesse pushed the sled by himself today. I was basically a windsock. He was on his own,” Rush said.
Maximilian Arndt and Kevin Kuske of Germany took the bronze, 0.55 behind Holcomb. World Cup champion Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter of Switzerland were fifth.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Calgary’s Derek Plug were 17th.
Canada also won bronze in the team event, composed of men’s and women’s skeleton, women’s bobsled, and men’s two-man bobsled.
The world championship medal was the first for Rush and Lumsden, a native of Burlington, Ont.
“I thought I would be happy, but I’m not even sure if I am right now,” Rush said. “I just want to get back to my hotel and sleep.”
Lumsden was proud of how Rush fought through his illness.
“We came out guns blazing on Saturday and had to battle through some adversity [Saturday]night,” Lumsden said. “Considering the condition Lyndon was in it was a courageous effort even for him to perform.”
Rush, a bronze medalist in the four-man at the 2010 Olympics, teamed up with the former CFL running back this past fall, in a move that has already paid off. Rush and Lumsden won a World Cup silver medal in Konigssee, Germany, their first podium finish, and then won gold two weeks ago at Whistler, B.C.
“The goal was to work together to win a medal here for Canada,” said Rush. “Jesse is an amazing athlete, and such an amazing character guy who always puts the team first. I’m very lucky to have him on the team.”
The Whistler victory was Rush’s second of his career and fourth two-man medal. He also has four podium finishes in the four-man including one victory.
The Whistler victory was the first of Lumsden’s career.
“This is a team sport and I knew it was best for me to join Lyndon for the best interest of the team,” Lumsden said. “I’m in such a good place right now and I can’t wait to get in the four-man [this week]with the other guys. If you ever needed an example of a team peaking at the right time, we are it.”
Moscow – Canada’s Christine Nesbitt raced to a track record in the 1,500 metres Sunday, en route to claiming bronze at the world all-round speed-skating championships.
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands captured her third career title after finishing on the podium in all four races of the all-around championships – an endurance test for speed skaters. The champions are determined by their combined results over four distances.
Nesbitt, the overall World Cup leader from London, Ont., had a 2.70-second advantage over Wust ahead of the final race after winning the 1,500 earlier in the day. But she could not keep pace with the Dutchwoman and finished a distant eighth in the 5,000 to drop to third overall.
The Canadian clocked 1 minute 55.95 to set a track record in the 1,500. She shaved off just one-hundredth of a second from the previous mark set by Claudia Pechstein in 2008.
Wust was 1.03 seconds behind for second, followed by Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg at 1:57.61.
Klassen finished fifth overall.
Nesbitt won Saturday’s 500 and was sixth in the 3,000.
Wust was third in the 500 and second in the next three races over the two days to top the standings with 161.050 points.
Bansko, Bulgaria – Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his second race in two days, capturing a slalom Sunday and drawing closer to the overall lead in the World Cup standings.
Hirscher was in front after the first run on the Banderitsa course and won in a combined time of 1 minute 52.64 seconds. Austria’s Mario Matt finished with the second-best time but was disqualified for a gate infringement.
That lifted Sweden’s Andre Myhrer into second, 0.57 seconds back, while Italy’s Stefano Gross was third, 0.90 seconds behind.
Brad Spence of Calgary was 17th, which means his hopes for qualifying for the World Cup finals will go down to the wire.
“I didn’t want it to come down to the last race but that’s the way it is,” Spence said. “I was definitely happy with my first run – it was the best first run I’ve had to date – but I can’t say I’m too happy with 17th place.
“You’ve got to learn from everything. I don’t know if it was a combination of holding back and also wanting it a bit too much. I was trying to make the turns faster than I should have. I was just trying to go too hard.”
Mike Janyk of Whistler, B.C., and Paul Stutz, of Banff, Alta., both went out in the first run. Janyk charged hard and straddled the fourth gate, while Stutz crashed near the bottom.
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia – Another day, another title for Lindsey Vonn.
Just 24 hours after clinching her fifth consecutive World Cup downhill title, the American clinched her third straight super-combined trophy Sunday after the final race in the discipline this season was cancelled due to heavy snowfall on the Sochi 2014 Olympic course.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) initially said the race might be rescheduled for Are, Sweden, next month, but then scrapped that idea.
“You never want to have a [title]clinched with a cancelled race,” Vonn said. “I had it happen to me last year at the finals for the overall globe, and I’ve won a super-combined title before in this way when they cancelled the last super-combined in Crans-Montana. … I would love to have another chance to be on the podium, but today was just not meant to be.”
Vonn now has 14 World Cup titles in her career, and she’s on course to add two more before the end of this season with a fourth overall globe and a fourth super-G title.
Naeba, Japan – Canada’s Audrey Robichaud has put an end to American star Hannah Kearney’s impressive winning streak, and perhaps started one of her own.
Robichaud, from Quebec City, beat Kearney in the woman’s dual moguls semi-final at an FIS World Cup event Sunday. Robichaud then topped Japan’s Aiko Uemura in the final for her first World Cup victory.
That ended Kearney’s all-discipline record for consecutive FIS World Cup victories at 16.
“I can’t believe I won,” a thrilled Robichaud said after the final. “I tried to be really strong out of the gate, and just be consistent in my jumps as well and try to be the first one at the bottom of the course so … yeah, crazy!”
Robichaud finished second to Kearney in the single moguls event on Saturday. She is rebounding from a back injury that caused her to miss most of the team’s off-season training Kearney, from Norwich, Vt., broke downhill great Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 14 – set in the giant slalom in 1978-80 – last week in China and won again Saturday in Naeba.
Kearney’s streak began in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Jan. 22, 2011.
American Patrick Deneen won the men’s event, beating World Cup leader Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., in the final. Philippe Marquis of Quebec City was third.
“He’s definitely one of the fastest in dual moguls,” Kingsbury said of Deneen. “I made some mistakes just before my bottom air on my finals run. We were going pretty fast and I saw Patrick out of the corner of my eye so I pushed it just a little too hard. But I heard it was pretty close.”
The Canadian Press, The Associated Press