Canada's Montgomery wins skeleton gold
Canadian Jon Montgomery delivered a near-perfect second run Thursday to win the World Cup skeleton event at the Whistler Sliding Centre in B.C.
The 29-year-old from Russell, Man., completed the 16-turn course in a two-run time of one minute 47.67 seconds in the inaugural race at the facility, which will host sledding events in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Switzerland's Gregor Staehli was second, just under four-tenths of a second behind.
Canadian Jeff Pain and Matthew Antoine of the United States tied for the bronze medal, each with a run of 1:48.19.
Pain, from Calgary, led after the first run in a time of 53.67 seconds.
It was the first medal and podium finish of the World Cup season for Montgomery, who finished second in the overall standings last year.
"My runs were consistent and that is the name of this game," he said. "You can have small mistakes here and there, especially on a track like this because it is so technical. You know others are going to make bigger mistakes than yours."
His top speed was 140.8 km/h on the 1,450-metre track. He now sits eighth in the World Cup overall standings, 163 points behind leader Alexander Tretiakov of Russia.
German racer Frank Rommel, who had won the previous four World Cup events, was well back at 11th, more than a second behind the leader.
Both Pain and Antoine reached the podium for the first time this year.
Pain had struggled all week with slow push-time starts through the first 50 metres, but had managed to make up the time by going gangbusters through the final corners.
Those slow times came back to haunt him.
The 38-year-old Olympic silver medallist from Calgary led the field after the first heat, but on the second heat, an average start was compounded by miscues down the course.
"I am ripping down 120 km/h and you mis-time something by a blink of an eye," he said. "I did that two or three times on the way down and that half-second is three blinks of the eye."
Canadian Keith Loach of Calgary was 13th in the 28-sled field.
The World Cup continues Friday with the women's bobsled and men's two-man bobsled. The four-man bobsled event goes Saturday.