February 9, 2006
SUN Prediction: Gold Medal
Sun Media

Four years ago in Salt Lake City, Mellisa Hollingsworth's husband Billy Richards competed in the Olympics before she got there. Sort of. In rodeo.

It was an exhibition event with five cowboys from Canada and five from the USA in each event. Richards was fifth in saddle bronc.

"He keeps reminding me he was the first one to get to the Olympics,'' laughs the native of Eckville, Alberta, a village of 600, 40 kilometres west of Lacombe in Central Alberta.

While Richards competed in four Canadian Finals Rodeos, (Mellisa's dream was to make it to the event as a barrel racer), his wife is suddenly the big sports star in the family.

After 10 years competing in the head-first sport of skeleton Hollingsworth won her first World Cup race to start this season in Calgary then went to Europe to claim the World Cup championship.

After having only three previous podiums in her World Cup career she went seven for seven this year. No one in the modern-day history of the sport has ever done that before.

Her hometown is holding a Go-Mellisa-Go event on the day she takes part in the opening ceremonies. She'll have 14 family members in Turin to cheer her on, including husband Billy.

"He'll be the one in the cowboy hat,'' she said.

Event Schedule

Thurs. Feb. 16

Final

Previous Games

This will be Hollingsworth's first Olympics.