'It's surreal': Mirela Rahneva earns 1st World Cup skeleton medal
Canadian comes away with bronze at race in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Canada's Mirela Rahneva earned bronze in the women's skeleton event at the World Cup stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday.
It was the 28-year-old's first ever World Cup skeleton medal in just her second race on the circuit.
"It is absolutely surreal. I can't believe it," said Rahneva, who locked up her podium finish with a two-run time of one minute, 50.92 seconds.
Big bronze for <a href="https://twitter.com/MirelaRahneva">@MirelaRahneva</a> who slide to her first World Cup skeleton podium, after only two races on the circuit: <a href="https://t.co/723Hjz7Sow">https://t.co/723Hjz7Sow</a> <a href="https://t.co/tcn5cKAqd6">pic.twitter.com/tcn5cKAqd6</a>—@TeamCanada
Janine Flock of Austria broke the track record to finish at the top of the podium with a time of 1:49.77 seconds, while Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain's time of 1:50.58 was good for second place.
The previous track record was 55.04 seconds set in 2015 by Savannah Graybill of the U.S., and Flock lowered it with a time of 54.84 seconds in her first run.
Meanwhile, Rahneva set a start record en route to a fifth place result at her debut in Whistler in early December.
"I learned in Whistler how important the mental side of the game is and how much it plays into things on the World Cup," said Rahneva.
"I worked really hard on that this week. I went for a green tea latte, went for walk down the main street of Lake Placid and just tried to clear my head, relax and focus."
Rahneva, who began competing three years ago, became hooked on the sport at a Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton recruitment camp and decided to leave her job as a wedding planner to chase an Olympic dream sparked by her parents who immigrated to Canada from Bulgaria.
"It was so great to have my mom here today with me. We are going to drive back to Ottawa together for the holidays and I'm so excited for that," said Rahneva.
"I just feel so privileged to have this opportunity to represent Canada."