'Monkey off my back': Appiah ends podium drought in Austria with monobob bronze

Canada's Cynthia Appiah secured a bronze medal in women's monobob at a World Cup competition on Saturday in Innsbruck, Austria.

Canadian clocks fastest 2nd-run time; Germany's Lisa Buckwitz wins World Cup event

A female athlete races down the track in a black Canadian bobsled.
Cynthia Appiah of Toronto raced to a monobob bronze medal in World Cup action on Saturday in Innsbruck, Austria. (Hans Pennink/The Associated Press via The Canadian Press)

Four years later, Cynthia Appiah has conquered the sliding track in Igls, Austria, site of her World Cup debut as a bobsleigh pilot.

The 32-year-old Canadian Olympian reached the medal podium in women's monobob with a two-run time of one minute 49.42 on Saturday.

"I've had a love-hate relationship since [2019]," Appiah told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, referring to the 14-corner Austrian chute. "It's a starter's track so it is where I should really shine, but today is the first time I've been on the podium.

"I've always been just short, so to finally do it is like getting the monkey off my back."

Sixth after a disappointing opening run — "I knew I was in striking distance," Appiah said — she posted the fastest time in the second run at 54.63 and climbed three spots in the standings.

WATCH | Appiah clocks fastest 2nd run to earn bronze:

Canada's Cynthia Appiah scores bronze in Innsbruck

8 months ago
Duration 2:27
The North York, Ontario native picked up her fourth career World Cup monobob medal.

A little self-talk and pat on the back from coach Lyndon Rush also served the Toronto athlete well ahead of her second 1,428-metre trip down the track.

"Lyndon came to the start house after the first run, which he doesn't normally do," she said, "and had me go over the run one more time. I really think that was the difference.

"I know myself and what I'm capable of, it's just a matter of putting it down and showing everyone. I came out in that second run, and I felt like I was back in the zone. When I [finished] I knew I put down a solid [run]."

I wish I was a bit closer to the top of the standings, but that crash in Lake Placid [earlier this season] cost me a bit.— Canadian slider Cynthia Appiah

It was the fourth podium of the season for Appiah and a third consecutive bronze after opening the season with silver on her home track in Whistler, B.C.

She sits third in the overall World Cup monobob standings with one race remaining next weekend in Sigulda, Latvia.

"I'm happy with where I'm at. I wish I was a bit closer to the top of the standings, but that crash in Lake Placid [earlier this season] cost me a bit," Appiah said. "I'm still in third and I've created some breathing room from my competitors so I'm looking forward to Sigulda and hopefully get my hands on a Crystal Globe."

Humphries' podium streak ends

Germany's Lisa Buckwitz won the gold medal Saturday in 1:49.20, followed by Australia's Breeana Walker (1:49.38).

Calgary-born Kaillie Humphries, who represents the United States, had her streak of consecutive World Cup podium finishes halted at six as she finished 0.03 seconds behind Appiah.

The two-women bobsleigh competition is slated for Sunday, with runs at 4 a.m. ET and 5:20 a.m.

Watch live coverage on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem for iOS and Android devices.

Later Saturday, Canada's Pat Norton, William Ashley, David Caixeiro and Mathieu Gosselin finished 14th in four-man bobsleigh, stopping the clock in 1:42.46, 1.81 seconds behind winning Germany pilot Francesco Friedrich.

Brad Hall of Great Britain took silver while Germany's Johannes Lochner's stood in bronze position.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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