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'That's insane': Canada's Elisabeth Vathje dominates Whistler track for skeleton gold

Canadian Elisabeth Vathje won the opening race of the women's skeleton World Cup season on Friday on the track that hosted the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Canadian slider won by almost a full second - a massive gap in skeleton

The Calgarian won the opening race of the women's skeleton World Cup season in Whistler, B.C. 4:03

Canada's Elisabeth Vathje won gold in the first women's skeleton World Cup stop of the season on Friday night at the Whistler Sliding Centre track.

After leading the pack after the first run, the 22-year-old Calgary native easily beat out her competition with a two-run time of one minute 49.25 seconds. This was her second World Cup gold, following another first-place finish in Calgary two years ago.

"God is good. I'm just so thankful to him for this opportunity," Vathje said. "It was freeing. I just had freedom on this track, and it's emotional because I have crashed here probably more than anyone. I knew there was a chance I could win it, but anything happens on race day. I set my goals and if I stuck to that I knew I could do well today."

Following her on the podium were Jacqueline Loelling of Germany in second place with her time of 1:50.09, and Tina Hermann, also of Germany, in the bronze-medal position in 1:50.11.

"I won by 84 hundredths [of a second], and that's insane," Vathje added. "These are the best girls in the world, and I'm blown away."

Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold of Britain took fourth in her first race since winning the 2014-15 world championships, while Ottawa's Mirela Rahneva rounded out the top five. Canada's third slider, North Vancouver native Jane Channell, finished 16th.

Later Friday, Canada's two-man bobsled team of Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden tied for fourth place.

Germany's Francesco Friederich and Margis Thorsten won gold with a top time of 1:44.21, Switzerland's Peter Rico and Amrhein Thomas placed second in 1:44.67 and Yon Yungjong and Seo Youngwoo of South Korea were third in 1:44.69.

Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., tied Germany's Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm at 1:44.73.

You can catch more skeleton and bobsleigh coverage on our Road to the Olympic Games show on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and CBC Television.

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