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Skeleton

Rahneva scores World Cup skeleton gold on home ice in Calgary

Canada's Mirela Rahneva won a World Cup women's skeleton race on home ice Friday, posting the fastest time in both heats to prevail by about a half-second over Germany's Tina Hermann.

Fellow Canadian Elisabeth Maier grabs bronze

Canada's Mirela Rahneva, pictured above at World Cup event in Switzerland, slid to gold on home ice in Calgary on Friday night. (Urs Flueeler/The Associated Press)

Canada's Mirela Rahneva won a World Cup women's skeleton race on home ice Friday, posting the fastest time in both heats to prevail by about a half-second over Germany's Tina Hermann.

It was the second victory of the season for the Ottawa native, who had a 0.46 second lead over Hermann.

"This is amazing. It is a track that we know and love, and it is just such a good feeling to be sliding here," Rahneva said.

"The track crew did an incredible job of making the ice nice and smooth despite the cold weather we've had here. It felt so good to be on home ice."

Canada also grabbed the bronze, with Calgary's Elisabeth Maier holding off World Cup leader Elena Nikitina of Russia, who hit the wall on her final run and caused sparks to fly.

WATCH | Nikitina end her run with a bloody nose

Skeleton athlete Elena Nikitina had an eventful second run in a World Cup event on Friday, sliding her helmet along the ice and hitting a wall causing sparks to fly, before taking her helmet off to reveal a bloody nose. 1:02
 

"Thinking of sharing the podium has been a bit of an extra driving force for me so it was really cool I was able to move up from fourth to third today," Maier said.

WATCH | Rahneva slides to gold

The Ottawa native posted the fastest time in both runs one her way to winning gold in the women's skeleton World Cup stop in Calgary Alberta. 2:12

Germany's Jacqueline Loelling, the Olympic silver medallist , was second in the World Cup standings entering the weekend and had the best chance of catching Nikitina in the season points chase. But Loelling is not scheduled to race this weekend, Hermann has moved into second place overall and Nikitina now needs only a 13th-place finish in the women's season finale on Saturday to clinch the crown.

WATCH | Maier takes bronze

Maier sat 4th after the 1st run, but managed to find her way onto the podium as she won a skeleton World Cup bronze medal in her home city of Calgary, Alberta. 1:54

In the men's race later Friday, Russia's Alexander Tretiakov held off South Korea's Yun Sungbin for the victory, with Latvia's Martins Dukurs placing third. Austin Florian led the Americans with an 11th-place finish.

Tretiakov now leads Yun by 49 points in the season-long standings with one race left, meaning no worse than a fourth-place finish in the men's finale on Sunday will lock up the World Cup overall title for him.

WATCH | Tretiakov wins men's race

The Canadian raced to his best finish of the season on Friday as he ended up in 6th place at the World Cup race in Calgary, Alberta. 1:56

Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., matched his career-best sixth-place World Cup finish. The 39-year-old Olympian put down his top-two runs of the season to finish with a time of 1:52.44.

WATCH | Greszczyszyn slides to sixth

The World Cup points leader added to his total on Friday, winning the men's skeleton event at the World Cup stop in Calgary, Alberta. 2:07

It is a jam-packed final weekend of the World Cup season for skeleton athletes. Because a race was cancelled earlier this season in Germany after heavy snow, there are double races for both skeleton disciplines in Calgary this weekend. Women will race their World Cup season-finale on Saturday, and men will finish their circuit for the season on Sunday.

It's a farewell weekend to the season and possibly a farewell to sliding in Calgary. The track that played host to the races at the 1988 Winter Olympics faces a most uncertain future because of funding concerns.

"We've got to save the track," Rahneva said.

WATCH | Complete coverage of the women's heats

IBSF World Cup from Calgary, Alberta 50:08
IBSF World Cup from Calgary, Alberta 40:45

WATCH | Complete coverage of the men's heats

IBSF World Cup from Calgary, Alberta 58:41
IBSF World Cup from Calgary, Alberta 54:18

With files from CBC Sports

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