International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation
International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation

Rahneva slides to bronze at skeleton World Cup season opener

Mirela Rahneva kicked off the IBSF World Cup season on Friday with a bronze medal in women’s skeleton.

The 35-year-old Canadian completed her two runs at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre in China in two minutes 3.99 seconds, which left her 0.18 of a second back of the winner, Tina Hermann of Germany. The silver medal went to Chinese slider Zhao Dan, who was just two one-hundredths slower than Hermann, last year’s overall World Cup champion.

The venue was constructed for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and is located about 100 kilometres north of the Chinese capital. Rahneva had placed fifth her last time racing on the track during her second Olympic appearance. She was consistent in both of her runs on Friday, ranking third in each with times of 1:01.90 and 1:02.09.

Mirela Rahneva lands chest first on her skeleton sled as it slides out of the start area on the track
Mirela Rahneva, of Canada, competes in the women’s IBSF World Cup skeleton race Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger)

This is Rahneva’s 14th career World Cup medal. She finished third in last season’s overall World Cup standings after standing on two podiums and finishing fourth in three other races. It was her best overall performance on the circuit since 2018-19. She also won bronze at last year’s world championships.

Fellow Canadians Jane Channell and Hallie Clarke placed 12th and 15th, respectively on Friday. Like Rahneva, Channell is a veteran of the Canadian team while 19-year-old Clarke is making a return to the national program after representing the United States for a season. Clarke began her international career in 2019 wearing Canadian colours and competed at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games before making her World Cup debut for the U.S. in 2022. She won two World Cup medals last year and won gold in the U20 division at the 2023 Junior World Championships.

The trio of women were the only Canadians to make the trip to China. They are expected to be joined by more members of the Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton team at the second World Cup stop in La Plagne, France. Starting on December 8, that will kick off the European swing of the circuit which will continue into the new year.