After some strong performances on the World Cup circuit, the Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton teams are looking for more podium finishes at the world championships, which start Friday in Konigssee, Germany.
With competition running over the next two weekends, that first day will include the first two runs of the women’s two-man event, in which two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries is looking to reclaim the top spot at the worlds after finishing second last year with Melissa Lotholz. Humphries, who won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 with Jenny Ciochetti and Chelsea Valois, has confirmed that Lotholz will once again be her brakewoman.
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Made it back to Konigssee for World Champs 🗻 Man I love this place! ..then again, how couldn't you with a view like that!? Sliding starts tomorrow 😊✌ #bobsleigh #bobsled #bobtour #WorldChamps #Konigssee #winterwonderland #favouriteplace #ontour #mountains #snow #takemybreathaway @bobsleighcanskeleton
As a duo, Humphries and Lotholz have won three World Cup medals this season, most recently a silver on the Igls track in Austria on February 4.
Just a week prior, the World Cup had been in Konigssee, where Humphries finished just off the podium in fourth place with brakewoman Cynthia Appiah. The world championships were supposed to have been held on the Sochi track where Humphries won her second Olympic gold before being moved to the Bavaria track in mid-December. When the worlds were last in Konigssee in 2011, Humphries won bronze with Heather Moyse. In two World Cup stops last season in Konigssee, Humphries and Lotholz won gold and silver.
On the men’s side, Justin Kripps is heading into the world championships after a fifth place finish in the two-man event with Jesse Lumsden in Igls. That was Kripps best result of the season since winning two-man silver with Lumsden in Lake Placid in mid-December. Chris Spring also had his season-best performances in Lake Placid, piloting both his two-man and four-man sleds to bronze.
In skeleton, the women’s team has been having a great World Cup season thanks to Mirela Rahneva and Elisabeth Vathje. As a rookie, Rahneva has captured four World Cup medals, most recently a silver in Igls. She just missed the podium in her previous trip to Konigssee, finishing fourth. Vathje has two wins this season and is looking for a return to the world championship podium after winning bronze in 2015 in Winterberg.
The Canadian men have had a tougher time breaking onto the podium, with Latvian Martins Dukurs, Russian Alexander Tretiakov and Korean Sungbin Yun dominating the World Cup this season. Barrett Martineau has been the most consistent member of the team, with top-15 finishes in six of the seven races, highlighted by eighth place in Altenberg.
Just like at the Olympic Games, all events at the world championships are composed of four runs, as opposed to the two runs used on the World Cup. After the worlds, the sliders will head to Korea to test out the PyeongChang 2018 track at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, beginning March 17.
A live stream of the world championships will be available at CBC Sports.