February 17, 2006
Gold and silver
Canucks finish 1-2 in skeleton
PAT GRIER -- Sun Media

TURIN, Italy - Make no bones about it, Canada rules the men's skeleton, winning gold and silver today in Cesana Pariol.

Duff Gibson finished first and fellow Calgarian Jeff Pain was second, marking only the third time in Winter Olympic history that Canadians have finished first and second in the same event.

Add in Calgarian Paul Boehm's fourth-place finish today and it marks the first time Canada has taken first, second and fourth.

At 39, Gibson is also the oldest Canadian to win gold at the Winter Olympics. He said afterward that with his Olympic goal achieved, he will likely retire.

"I think it's a well-known fact that I'm not the youngest guy in the sport," Gibson said. "The most important thing for me was to go out on top."

Gibson's combined two-run time of one minute, 55.88 seconds was just 0.26 ahead of Pain's 1:56.14. The pair were the final two races after ranking 1-2 respectively in the first run, Duff with a time of 57.80 and Pain in 57.98. Switzerland's Gregor Staehli (1:56.80) won the bronze, with Boehm, 31, right behind in 1:57.06.

"Everything was exactly how I imagined it would be and a little different, too," Gibson said. "Winning was exactly how I dreamt it would have felt."

While both Gibson and Pain, 35, were considered medal contenders, most had Pain pegged for top spot. He has finished first the past two World Cup seasons and won the world championship in 2005.

But the Cesana course has been good to Gibson, a Toronto native now working as a firefighter in Calgary who originally competed for the national team in bobsled before shifting to the skeleton in 1998. He won a World Cup event here in 2005.

Gibson was 10th in the event in Salt Lake City, but won the 2004 world championship before struggling some in 2005.

"In Salt Lake I finished 10th and that was when I didn't want to just be a part of it. I wanted to win a medal," Gibson said.

Pain was more than happy to take second spot to his teammate.

"All I wanted was two good solid performances and losing to Duff is awesome," Pain said. "It was his day. Tomorrow would have been my day. We're just great competitors and we push ourselves."

The first Canadians to finish 1-2 were Catriona LeMay Doan and Susan Auch respectively in the women's 500-metre long track in 1998 in Nagano. Marc Gagnon and Jonathan Guilmete then managed the same feat four years later in Salt Lake City, Gagnon taking gold and Guilmete silver in the men's 500-metre short track.

It has happened only once in the Summer Olympics when Canadians were first and second in trap shooting at the 1908 Games in London.

Yesterday, Melissa Hollingsworth-Richards of Eckville, Alta., won bronze in the women's skeleton.

Earlier today, Canada picked up a bronze when Dominique Maltais was third in the women's snowboard cross in Bardonecchio. Teammate Maelle Ricker also made the final but crashed and was taken to hospital with a bruised back and a mild concussion.

Canada now has 11 medals -- two gold, four silver and five bronze.