Canada's Upperton hits World Cup podium
Canada's Helen Upperton shrugged off a shoulder injury Friday to race to a third-place finish in women's World Cup bobsleigh.
Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown edged out Canadian teammates Kaillie Humphries and Heather Hughes by 0.35 seconds to finish third behind a pair of German teams piloted by Cathleen Martini and Sandra Kiriasis.
"Getting on the podium in women's (bobsleigh) is hard," said Upperton, who missed last week's World Cup opener in Whistler, B.C., after a pair of crashes in training. "It's always something we're proud to do."
Martini piloted her Germany 2 team to a two-race time of one minute 53.57 seconds to finish 0.32 seconds ahead of Kiriasis, who led after the first run.
Martini credited her come-from-behind victory to a good push in the second run with help from brakeman Berit Wiacker.
"There was a good upper part in the second run and so I took the speed to the bottom," said Martini, who finished fourth in Whistler, where Kiriasis won gold. "I let the sled go, so I think that was the secret in the second run. It's an absolute great feeling."
The Germans also had a strong showing in the men's two-man bobsled race, with Karl Angerer and Gregor Bermbach finishing first with a combined two-race time of one minute 50.57 seconds.
"I'm very, very happy," said Angerer of his first-ever gold medal while competing with Bermbach in World Cup action. "It's a wonderful day for me."
The German 2 team of Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau finished tied for second with Patrice Servelle and Lascelles Brown of Monaco.
Both teams finished with a time of 1:50.77, just 0.20 seconds behind Angerer.
It was Monaco's first-ever World Cup bobsledding medal.
Brown competed for Canada from 2004 until this year, winning a silver with Pierre Lueders in the two-man at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. He also won bronze at the Vancouver Games with Lyndon Rush in the four-man.
Brown secured a release from Bobsleigh Canada to race for Monaco this season.
"My plan was to go with Monaco for a year and help Patrice win a medal and then come back [to compete for Canada], but we'll see," said Brown, who is originally from Jamaica.
"Patrice has been driving for close to 15 years and it's his first medal. That just shows that, you know what, the brakeman does help."
A week after winning a silver medal in Whistler, Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Neville Wright, of Edmonton, finished fifth with a time of 1:50.97.
"In the second run we had a real smoker going and then I messed it up at the bottom," Rush said. "We lost probably a tenth of a second on the very bottom there. That's racing right? You've got to get over it.
"We've got four-man tomorrow and that'll help to get over it if we do good at that. We've just got to dig it out tomorrow and try to show these Germans something. They're really good. They're impressive."
Upperton, who finished Friday's women's race with a time of 1:54.08, credited the Canadian medical staff for helping get her and Shelley-Ann Brown ready to compete. Upperton suffered a separated shoulder in Whistler, while Brown sustained bruised and dislocated ribs.
"We have a great medical staff and they worked on us endlessly since those crashes," Upperton said. "I'm all taped up and Shelley's been getting lots of therapy. They're the main reason why we were actually able to slide today."
Upperton credited Brown with powering their Canada 2 bobsled to a pair of quick starts.
"I'm lucky to have Shelley," said the Calgary resident. "I'm not 100 per cent and she's so fast and she pushed so great. I'm just trying to keep up. She's awesome."
After missing the first race in Whistler, Brown was happy to get to compete in Canada before heading to the United States and then Europe for the rest of the season.
"I was really nervous and excited and ready to go," said Brown, a native of Pickering, Ont. "I'm so happy now that there's two tracks in Canada because we still get to have another chance to perform in front of our family and our home crowd."
Humphries, of Calgary, and Hughes, of Edmonton, won silver in the season's first event in Whistler.
"It's always nice to see Canadians on top of the podium," said Humphries, who added she was disappointed to finish out of the top three this week. "Our pushing was okay and the driving was okay. I made a few mistakes in the first run as well as the second run and it cost us some time."