Four medals for Canadian skeleton athletes 

Brit, Russian emerge golden in Intercontinental Cup action

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Russia's Anton Batuev reacts after winning the Intercontinental Cup skeleton race at Whistler Sliding Centre on Jan. 16
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Russia's Anton Batuev reacts after winning the Intercontinental Cup skeleton race at Whistler Sliding Centre on Jan. 16

Canadian sliders made it to the podium four times in skeleton action at Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday.

Two events were held - the Intercontinental Cup and North America Cup each had their fifth races of the season.

In the women's Intercontinental Cup race, Cassie Hawrysh of Brandon, Man. earned the silver medal.

Meanwhile, Paul Fraser of Saskatoon nabbed the men's bronze in the Intercontinental Cup race, while Ottawa's Alex Hanssen had a superb second run to launch himself onto the podium after sitting seventh after the first run in the North America Cup race. Grace Dafoe of Calgary took the women's bronze medal in the North America Cup event.

In the Intercontinental Cup men's race, Russians took the other men's medals, with Anton Batuev finishing 1.01 seconds ahead of Pavel Kulikov with a combined time of one minute, 46.42 seconds. Fraser was 1.10 seconds behind while fellow Canadians Greg Rafter and Patrick Rooney finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

In the women's race, Great Britain's Donna Creighton's combined time of 1:49.16 allowed her to hold off Hawrysh by 0.75 seconds. Russia's Yulia Kanakiva, 0.89 seconds back, took bronze. Calgary's Jaclyn LaBerge was just off the medal pace in fourth, while Brooks, Alta.'s Madison Charney ended up seventh.

Creighton credited a strong training session here with her success.

"This is one of my favourite tracks. I like the speed and the high-pressure corners," she said. "It suits my style of driving."

Creighton noted the times were quicker than they had been in training, and praised the track workers for maintaining a quality run.

In the North America Cup, American Trent Kraychir's combined 1:51.11 allowed him to hold off countryman Austin McCrary and Hanssen by 0.41 and 1.22 seconds, respectively. Canadians Taylor Purdy, West Sharkey and Ben Roberts were fourth, eighth, and ninth, respectively.

Lastly, American Samantha Culiver blazed through her second run to surge past fellow American Lauren Salter to take gold by 0.12 seconds. Dafoe was 1.19 seconds behind. Canadian Mirela Rahneva was fourth.

Skeleton action continues on both fronts tomorrow at the WSC beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Speaking of Whistler Sliding Centre, skeleton

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