Laura Dees got her Olympic Skeleton season off to a strong start as she finished fifth in the opening World Cup event in Lake Placid.
Fellow Brit Lizzy Yarnold, who is bidding to become the first Briton to successfully defend a Winter Olympics title next year, picked up a bronze medal as she finished 0.33 seconds behind race winner Janine Flock of Austria. Deas was 0.56 sec behind the winner, despite posting the third quickest time in the second heat.
Canada’s Elizabeth Vathje took silver, with Russia’s Elena Nikitina sandwiched between Yarnold and Deas in the first of eight World Cup races prior to February’s Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
“That’s a really good opener to the season. It gives me a platform to push on from,” said a delighted Deas. “I want to be in the top six consistently and be challenging for medals.
“To have already better my best result from last season is a positive place to be. I left myself a lot to do after the first run but I was really pleased with my push starts and with the way I pulled my way back into contention in the second run.”
‘Team Mica’, former Welsh sprinter Mica Moore and her driver Mica McNeill, opened their World Cup campaign in the two seater bobsleigh with an eighth-place finish in Lake Placid. The British pair clocked a time of 1 min, 55.26 sec. It as a result that took McNeill close to equalling her best-ever World Cup finish of joint seventh as she drove consistently well over both runs to record the eighth-best time on both occasions.
McNeill and Moore’s times of 57.50 and 57.76 seconds saw them finish 27 hundredths of a second outside the top six and 0.66 seconds off a bronze medal. Canada’s reigning Olympic Champion, Kaillie Humphries, took gold with Melissa Lotholz, with America’s Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs securing silver ahead of German World Cup rookie Stephanie Schneider and Lisa Marie Buckwitz.
“That was a fantastic performance from Mica and Mica and a great way to start the season. We were looking for a top 10 finish as that’s important when it comes to ranking spots for the Games and they were comfortably inside that,” said GB Bobsleigh Performance Director, Chris Price.
“The coaches are certainly very happy with the performance and the result. They were very consistent at the start with 5.64 and 5.65 push times and Mica was equally consistent throughout with her driving.
“It’s Mica’s best-ever start to a World Cup season and it gives her and Mica a very good platform to kick on from for the rest of the year. I know they both have a very positive relationship with head coach Lee Johnston and it’s good to see their hard work pay off here after a strong set of training results as well.”
In the first of two lots of 2-man races in Lake Placid after unseasonably warm weather led to the cancellation of Friday’s scheduled 4-man race, Brad Hall and Toby Olubi finished 19th, with Welsh driver Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon in 26th.