Canada’s two-man bobsled team of Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden earned their first gold medal of the World Cup season on Saturday, while teammate Sarah Reid won silver in women’s skeleton.
The duo posted the fastest times in both runs down the French Alps track for a combined time of two minutes 01.18 seconds. It was the third straight podium finish for Rush of Humboldt, Sask., and Lumsden of Burlington, Ont.
“We’ve been close all year, but it is so fun when you finally close the deal,” said Rush. “It is so hard to start on this track because it is really flat so it exposes the better athletes. Jesse is an unbelievable athlete and he did an incredible job carrying the load today.”
It was the fifth two-man and ninth overall World Cup medal for Rush, who won the four-man Olympic bronze medal in 2010.
Rush and Lumsden have combined to win five World Cup medals together, including two victories, in addition to sliding to the silver medal at last year’s World Championships.
Saturday’s gold, which is Rush’s third career two-man victory, brings the Canadian bobsleigh squads podium total to nine this year.
Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann won the silver at 2:01.45, while Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton, of the U.S., grabbed the bronze with a time of 2:01.48.
Calgary’s Chris Spring and Edmonton’s Adam Rosenke finished 15th (2:02.27), while Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Sam Giguere of Sherbrooke, Que., placed 16th at 2:02.38.
In women’s skeleton, Calgary’s Reid rocketed down the challenging 1,507-metre La Plagne track in a time of 2:08.71 to finish in a deadlock for second spot with Germany’s Marion Thees.
It capped a career-best first half of the season that saw her pick up one gold and two silver medals.
“I had two really good pushes and two good runs today,” said Reid, who grabbed her third and final Olympic qualifier this year. She will need one more top-six finish next season to punch her ticket to Sochi.
“This is a hard track to relax because it is a really busy track with high pressure corners, but I was able to relax today.”
American Katie Uhlaender finished on top of the podium with a time of 2:08.22.
Reid kicked off her dream pre-Olympic season on the World Cup by winning her first-ever race in Lake Placid, N.Y. Two weeks later, Reid plummeted down the Olympic track in Whistler to the silver and her second career World Cup medal.
“I do enjoy the more technical tracks for sure. I feel if I can relax I can do well,” said Reid, who is on a new on a new sled this year designed by British skeleton ace Kristan Bromley. “I think my new equipment has definitely played a difference this year. At the start of the season, I hoped for this, but I don’t think I expected it. After Lake Placid I was a lot more comfortable. It has been a lot of fun.”
Two-time World Cup champion, Mellisa Hollingsworth of Eckville, Alta., placed seventh at 2:09.53, while rookie Cassie Hawrysh of Brandon, Man., dropped out of the top-10, finishing 13th (2:10.06).
The first half of the World Cup season wraps up on Sunday in La Plagne with men’s four-man bobsled racing.