Channell takes second at home 

Korean Yun wins men's race

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - MEDAL STAMPEDE Jane Channell celebrates her bronze medal in skeleton on Nov. 24.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • MEDAL STAMPEDE Jane Channell celebrates her bronze medal in skeleton on Nov. 24.

Jane Channell scored her third-career BMW IBSF World Cup medal, a silver, in front of a friendly crowd on Nov. 24.

The 29-year-old blitzed the Whistler Sliding Centre track in her initial 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 at the track where she learned her craft.

"They're my rock, my friends and family and coaches, everybody here. To be able to dig in and feed off of their energy here means so much," Channell said. "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."

Channell also gave a shout out to the track crew members, many of whom have seen her progress throughout her career.

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.

"I view each race on its own and even each run on its own. I knew after the first run that I needed to reset and refocus and treat the second run as a whole brand-new race," she said.

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

"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 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."

Yun blazes to men's victory

Canadians were unable to repeat Channell's feat the following day, though there was some initial hope.

At the midpoint of the men's skeleton race, the Canucks were set to extend their medal run with veteran Dave Greszczyszyn sitting in third, but a rough second run dropped him to seventh.

In the end, South Korea's Sungbin Yun cruised, setting a new track record in his first run with a 51.99-second showing. His run in the second heat was the next-best effort of the day, too, as he beat Russia's Nikita Tregubov by 0.75 seconds and Latvia's Tomass Dukurs by 0.99 seconds.

Yun was thrilled to score the victory as he makes a push to medal at home at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang this February. Saturday's victory was his second in a row after starting the season with a silver-medal showing in Lake Placid.

"I feel happy," Yun said. "(I had) a good push and a good run."

While Yun felt he had a couple of mistakes in the second heat, his starts that were just hundredths of a second away from the track record certainly meant he was in good shape as he led from start to finish.

Greszczyszyn, meanwhile, felt like his first run was one of his best of the hundreds he's completed in Whistler.

"My push was pretty decent. I think I might have loaded a bit early but I just wanted to get on the sled. I felt a little bit wobbly but I got on," he said. "I just let the run go and it was just like training. It was a good result."

Other Canadians were Kevin Boyer in 12th and Barrett Martineau in 15th.

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