Hollingsworth looking for gold Friday

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — Skeleton isn’t just a Halloween costume anymore.

Canada’s next gold medal could be in the sport, also known as toboggan, and it could be around the neck of an Alberta cowgirl on Friday.

“It’s great exposure for our sport,” said Eckville, Alberta-born Mellisa Hollingsworth, 29. “Fifteen years ago when I started the sport, you said skeleton and no one knew what you meant. That’s improved a lot.”

Hollingsworth was the bronze medallist at Turin 2006 and was sixth in the last two world championships. She may be peaking at the right time as the top-ranked slider after world cup wins in Konigssee, Germany, Lake Placid, N.Y. and Park City, Utah.

She was runner-up at two races, including one at the famed St. Moritz track in Switzerland where the sport was born.

“It’s going to be amazing here with the crowd,” she said. “I’m just going to use that to help me go faster down the track.” 

Turin silver medallist Jeff Pain will also be looking to upgrade to gold in the men’s competition.

Only two other medals are up for grabs as the Games hit the one-week mark.

After a disappointing result in the men’s downhill, the “Canadian Cowboys” regroup at Whistler Creekside. Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., who was fourth at Turin 2006, leads Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon of North Vancouver and Jan Hudec of Calgary on the Dave Murray downhill run in the men’s super giant slalom.

Golden, B.C.-born Sara Renner is the best hope for a medal in 15-kilometre women’s double pursuit cross-country skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park.

And fans might as well jump: Ski jumping on the normal hill at the Callaghan Valley was the first event of the Games. Ski jumpers will be back there Friday on the large hill.

Calgary-based Trevor Morrice, Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, Eric Mitchell and Stefan Read are thinking ahead to Sochi 2014, but it would be a moral victory if one of them could qualify for the Saturday finals.

Something’s rocking with Denmark: A rare double-double in Olympic curling as Canada’s men’s and women’s squads both face counterparts from Denmark on Friday.

Birthday alert: Biathlete Marc-Andre Bedard of St-Gabriel de Valcartier, Que. is turning 24.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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