Tina Hermann wins skeleton gold at historic St. Moritz track
Germany's Alexander Gassner wins men's race by just 100th of a second
Tina Hermann of Germany won a World Cup skeleton race on the historic St. Moritz track Friday, and Katie Uhlaender posted the best finish of any U.S. sliding athlete so far this season.
Hermann prevailed with Austria's Janine Flock finishing second and Germany's Jacqueline Loelling taking third. Hannah Neise of Germany was fourth, followed by Uhlaender — the four-time Olympian who placed fifth.
Calgary's Elisabeth Maier and Jaclyn LaBerge were sixth and 11th, respectively.
After posting a new start record at 5.24 and the third fastest downtime on the only naturally refrigerated track in the world, the 26-year-old Maier was aiming for her first World Cup podium since taking a year off being on maternity leave.
WATCH | Hermann wins skeleton gold:
A disappointing second blast down the 1,700-metre chute that winds its way to the finish in the town of Celerina left the 2018 Olympian in sixth place with a combined time of 2:21.89.
"My training and preparation did not show in today's race. I did push the start record so that was definitely a positive," said Maier, who has been steadily finishing in the top-six in her handful of starts this season.
Jaclyn LaBerge enjoyed a bounce-back week in just her second World Cup race of her career. After shaking off the first-race jitters last week in Winterberg, Germany, the 36-year-old LaBerge was solid in 11th spot at 2:22.94.
"I wish I could have snuck into the top-10, but it was nice to be able to show my sliding capability and be in the mix," said LaBerge.
WATCH | Calgary's Maier finishes 6th:
Americans did not compete in the first half of the World Cup skeleton, bobsled and luge seasons, remaining home in the U.S. because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and issues with international travel. Kaillie Humphries was sixth in women's bobsled last weekend, which had been the top U.S. result this winter before Uhlaender's showing Friday.
The fifth-place finish was Uhlaender's top World Cup result in nearly eight years, since a silver-medal performance in a World Cup at Sochi, Russia, in 2013.
"Last season I wasn't sure I wanted to come back fully, but I decided to finish out my career on my own terms," Uhlaender said. "I felt like myself on my sled this week and got some confidence back."
In the men's race, Germany's Alexander Gassner rallied in the second heat to win by just one-hundredth of a second over Latvia's Martins Dukurs. Olympic champion Yun Sungbin of South Korea was third, and Austin Florian was 10th to lead the U.S.
WATCH | Germany's Grassner wins men's race:
With files from CBC Sports