Latvia's Dukurs smokes competition for skeleton gold
World champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia blew away the rest of the field with a lightning performance to capture skeleton World Cup gold Friday night.
The Olympic silver medallist finished in a two-run time of one minute 45.76 seconds, while Frank Rommel of Germany and Alexander Tretiakov of Russia tied for second in 1:46.51. Alexander Kroeckel finished with the third fastest time in 1:46.78.
"This is a really tough track to stitch together two good runs," said Dukurs. "I didn't do it in the Olympic Games and at last year's World Cup. I knew I had to focus on two good runs today."
Dukurs earned a silver medal at the Vancouver Games and followed up with a bronze medal at a World Cup in Whistler last season. Dukurs has won six of seven World Cup races this season and leads the overall rankings with Frank Rommel of Germany second and teammate Tomass Dukurs third.
Canada's men's team has not won a medal yet this season. In only his second World Cup season, Calgary's John Fairbairn had a personal best performance, finishing eighth in 1:47.53 while teammates Michael Douglas of Toronto placed 11th and Eric Neilson of Kelowna, B.C., was 19th.
"I am happy with my runs because this is one of the most technical tracks in the world. The top guys make mistakes too and it feels like it gives me a bit of a chance against them," Fairbairn said.
Olympic champion Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., has taken the season off to train and prepare for the 2012-2013 Olympic qualifier season. The Canadian team's next stop is Calgary for the final race of the season, Feb. 9-11.
"We work really well together as a team really well," said Fairbairn. "Jon has a ton of knowledge and skill but so does the rest of our team. Jon is coming back next year, which will be even better."