Sport Shorts: Montgomery Makes Golden Start to Season

Skeleton: The skeleton season kicked off in Whistler and Canada’s golden boy repeated his fine performance from February. Jon Montgomery (Russell, Man.) won gold Friday night to mimic his Olympic result. He said he watched Olympic footage before the race to feel inspiration. Calgary’s John Fairbairn finished 11th in his rookie debut while Toronto’s Mike Douglas was 13th.

On the women’s side, Mellisa Hollingsworth (Eckville, Alta.) got off to a great start in capturing silver last Thursday. She finished what was for her a disappointing 5th at the Olympic Winter Games on this same course, but didn’t let any negative thoughts creep into her head. She is the reigning World Cup overall champion. Amy Gough (Abbotsford, B.C.) was 6th while Calgary’s Sarah Reid locked up 7th place, both excellent results.

Bobsleigh:: Also at Whistler, Canada racked up medals in bobsleigh. Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries (Calgary) hung on for a bronze medal with rookie brakeman Heather Hughes (Edmonton), who admirably filled in for an injured Heather Moyse. On the men’s side, Canada won silver in the 2-man bobsleigh event. Lyndon Rush (Humboldt, Sask.) and Neville Wright (Edmonton) finished in a dead tie for silver with a pair from Germany. Later, Rush and Wright teamed with Chris Le Bihan (Calgary) and Cody Sorensen (Ottawa) in the 4-man event, coming in 6th in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,000.

Speed Skating: Nobody can stop Christine Nesbitt. The London, Ont. native won her third straight gold medal in the 1,500 metres, remaining unbeaten in the distance this year. Joining her this time on that podium was Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg), who nabbed bronze. Later, the two joined with Winnipeg’s Cindy Klassen to win gold in the team pursuit event. Also in Hamar, Norway, two members of Canada’s Olympic champion men’s pursuit team won silver in the event. Lucas Makowsky (Regina) and Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.) were joined by Justin Warsylewicz (Regina) and finished 2nd only to the U.S.

Luge: If the team luge event makes the Olympic program in 2014, watch out for Canada. On Saturday, Calgary’s Alex Gough and Sam Edney teamed with the doubles tandem of Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Calgary’s Justin Snith to win silver in the season-opening race. In this event, each sled races and their times are combined. Also promising was Brendan Hauptman (Kimberly, B.C.) placing 14th – he is the new Canadian champion. On the women’s side, Calgary’s Arianne Jones finished 15th in her first-ever World Cup race. Walker and Snith were 11th in doubles.

Cross-Country Skiing: In Kuusamo, Finland, Devon Kershaw started rounding into form by finishing 10th in a World Cup pursuit race on Saturday. The two-time Olympian hails from Sudbury, Ont. Teammate Alex Harvey (St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que.) was 9th on Saturday in this event, which is a mini-Tour, and finished 17th overall. Ivan Babikov (Canmore, Alta.) found his fine form and jumped nearly 40 skiers to finish 31st overall.

Alpine: Top Canadians over the weekend in alpine were Manuel Osborne-Paradis (North Vancouver), 15th and Erik Guay (Mont-Tremblant, Que.), 16th in super-G, Marie-Michèle Gagnon, 15th in slalom, and Calgary’s Jan Hudec, 11th in downhill.

Swimming: Mike Brown, who missed an Olympic bronze medal by fractions of a second in 2008, won gold at the Canada Cup on Sunday. He won the 200-metre breaststroke race and set a new meet record. The three-day event launched the 2010-11 season for Canadian swimmers. Brown had retired from swimming in 2009 but came back for a shot at the 2012 Olympic Games. Congratulations to all the Canadians who won their respective events.