ST. MORITZ, Switzerland –
Martins Dukurs of Latvia has done it again. Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands has done it for the first time, and the first time in her country’s history.
Dukurs and Bos cemented their status as gold-medal favourites at the Beijing Olympics by finishing off World Cup skeleton overall season championships on Friday — the 11th for Dukurs, the first for Bos. Dukurs capped his title with a win in the season finale, and a second-place finish by Bos in the women’s race was more than good enough to clinch her title.
“This is super cool,” said Bos, the first athlete from the Netherlands in any sliding sport — bobsled, skeleton or luge — to win a season-long World Cup title.
Dukurs got his 11th championship in the last 13 seasons.
Canada’s Mirela Rahneva slid to bronze in the women’s race.
Jaclyn Narracott of Australia got her first World Cup medal in the women’s race, posting the fastest time in the first run and holding on in the second to win in 2 minutes, 17.56 seconds. Bos was second in 2:17.62 followed by Ottawa’s Rahneva in 2:18.22.
It was the second podium finish of the season for the 33-year-old Rahneva, who also took bronze prior to the holiday break at a World Cup in Winterberg, Germany.
Rahneva, an Olympian in 2018, missed all of last year’s COVID-shortened season with a neck injury.
“The podium performance today is a really strong result for Mimi (Rahneva) on a track that she absolutely loves sliding on,” Canadian Skeleton team leader Esther Dalle said. “Mimi has done an incredible job this year working her way back from injury and has made tremendous progress. The entire goal is to peak at the Olympics and this result demonstrates she is on track.”
North Vancouver’s Jane Channell was seventh.
For the U.S., Kelly Curtis led the way with a career-best sixth-place finish — which would appear to be good enough to get her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team that will be announced Saturday. Katie Uhlaender was ninth, likely sealing up her fifth Olympic berth, and Megan Henry was 15th.
Bos ended the season with 1,600 points, medalling in six of eight races. Austria’s Janine Flock was second with 1,481 points and Russia’s Elena Nikitina was third with 1,458.
Dukurs got his 61st career World Cup win by finishing in 2:14.39, holding off German sleds that took the next three spots. Alexander Gassner was second in 2:14.84, Christopher Grotheer third in 2:14.90 and Axel Jungk fourth in 2:15.04. Russia’s Nikita Tregubov tied Jungk for that fourth-place spot.
Austin Florian was 18th for the U.S., and Andrew Blaser was 26th.
Dukurs finished the season with 1,623 points, ahead of Jungk (1,551) and Grotheer (1,547).
World Cup rookie Blake Enzie of Calgary was 19th, and Saskatoon’s Evan Neufeldt was 27th.
The Beijing Games are the final races of the season for skeleton. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will be nominating its Olympic skeleton roster to the Canadian Olympic Committee on Jan. 20.
With files from The Canadian Press.