Channell takes second at home 

German Loeller storms to victory

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Skeleton racer Jane Channell stands on the podium after receiving her silver medal at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday, Nov. 24.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Skeleton racer Jane Channell stands on the podium after receiving her silver medal at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday, Nov. 24.

North Vancouver skeleton racer Jane Channell picked up the third BMW IBSF World Cup medal of her career on home soil on Friday morning.

The 29-year-old blitzed the Whistler Sliding Centre track in her second run to finish behind only defending World Cup champion Jacqueline Loelling of Germany, placing 0.23 seconds back while holding off German Tina Hermann by 0.04 seconds. The two other Canadians finished back to back in seventh and eighth. Mirela Rahneva posted the top run in the second heat to jump from 10th to seventh while Elisabeth Vathje, who captured the World Cup stop in Whistler last season, was a spot behind her.

Channell picked up a third-place finish in Winterberg, Germany and a second in Park City, Utah in 2015-16 but finished no higher than sixth last season. She was just off the podium in fourth in her first World Cup race in Whistler in 2015-16, when she finished third in the overall World Cup standings, but slipped to 16th during last year's race.

With friends and family at the ready to congratulate her, Channell was clearly overjoyed with the result.

"It's kind of surreal. Whistler has always been a beast that I've been trying to tame and today, it all came together even though my runs weren't the cleanest or anything, but I was able to hold on to that No. 2 spot," she said.

Several racers struggled to put down clean runs in the first heat, but Channell and Loelling were among the few to build a decent buffer on the field, which came in handy as their runs were 10th- and 13th-best, respectively, in the second heat.

Channell said her experience at Whistler turned out to be a major advantage.

"I've had I don't know how many runs on this track and I've done everything you could possibly do on this track, good and bad, so to be able to know how to make some corrections and fix things that aren't going super well really paid off here," she said.

Loelling, who is just 22 but is the has World Cup and World Championship titles under her belt, continued her dominance of the circuit in Whistler.

"I think I won today with the first run," she said. "My second run was bad. I struggled a lot and I'm happy to take first place."

Racing will continue Friday with the two-man bobsleigh at 3 p.m. and women's bobsleigh at 6 p.m. Entrance is $10.

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