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Mirela Rahneva opens World Cup skeleton season with bronze

Jane Channell finished 12th, Hallie Clark 15th in Beijing
Two-time Olympic skeleton competitor Mirela Rahneva is one of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s new athlete representatives for her respective sport, part of a recent personnel shakeup at the organization.

Mirela Rahneva found sweet redemption in her return to the 2022 Olympic track, winning bronze medal at the World Cup opener on Nov. 17 in Yanqing, China.

The 35-year-old tamed the unique “Sleeping Dragon” venue with a two-run time of two minutes and 3.99 seconds. 

“I left Beijing with some unfinished business [in 2022]. I didn’t get to go back after Pyeongchang so to be able to come and race here again, and have two good runs feels really good,” said Rahneva in a press release. “I loved seeing the Canada flag go up. I would have loved to see it go up in a different position, but I’ll take it!

"I do love this track. It’s a lot of single-pressure swoopy corners. You go up really high, exit and feel acceleration out of the single pressure corners. It also has a few straightaways and I mastered those. I also love the fact there is so much thought put into this track. It is built so well, there is so much emotion in it that I think I relate to.”

The Ottawa resident threw down a track record to open the four-run Olympic race in 2022 where she ended up in fifth. Last Friday, she rocketed to third-place times in both heats to secure the 14th World Cup podium of her career.

Germany's Tina Hermann, the reigning World Cup overall champ, squeaked out the gold medal (2:03.81). China’s Dan Zhao was two one-hundredths of a second back in silver medal position (2:03.83).

Rahneva's two-time Olympic teammate, Jane Channell, stopped the clock at 2:07.80 for 12th. Hallie Clarke, who recently returned to Team Canada after a stint with the American skeleton program, finished 15th (2:08.20).

It has been quite a run for Rahneva since Beijing 2022. Last season, she captured her first ever World Championship podium, another bronze. That breakthrough capped off a season that included a victory and a second-place, earning the veteran slider a Crystal Globe for placing third amidst the 2022-23 World Cup rankings. 

Furthermore, Rahneva has joined bobsledder Cynthia Appiah as the new athlete representatives for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS). 

“This year, it is about regaining the joy and gratitude I have for skeleton. I am realizing I can’t do this forever,” said Rahneva. “I’m in it this year to love the sport for what it is and be grateful for the opportunity I have to represent Canada. Any time your flag goes up, it is a good moment."

Team Canada will now return home before heading to Europe for two events prior to the holiday break: La Plagne, France (December 8-10) and Igls, Austria (December 15-17).

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