Heartbreak for Hollingsworth

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

WHISTLER — With a home medal in her sights, Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth skidded down the Whistler Sliding Centre and right off the podium.

Sitting second before her final of four runs, the Eckville, Alta. Native slammed twice into the wall. With her speed throttled down after that, the World Cup leader had no shot.

In front of a boisterous pro-Canadian crowd, the Eckville, Alta. native's rough final run instead dropped her to fifth place — shy of a podium finish and far off the performance many had expected.

That disappointment follows up on the bronze Hollingsworth won in Turin four years ago. Hollingsworth could have become the only women to win multiple Olympic medals in the sport. The women’s competition made its Games debut in 2002.

"I feel like I've let my entire country down," a tearful Hollingsworth told CTV. "I just — I just didn't do it."

Amy Williams of Great Britain took the gold. Kerstin Szymkowiak of Germany won silver and Anja Huber of Germany claimed the bronze.

Canada’s 0-for-Whistler dry spell continues, the home team yet to win a medal in the resort village, a week after the opening ceremony.

Hollingsworth came home to Canada as one of her country’s leading medal contenders thanks to an outstanding season on the World Cup circuit during which she hit the podium in six of seven events.

Eight years ago, Hollingsworth almost quite the sport after being left off the Canadian team for the Salt Lake City Games when women’s skeleton was making its debut.

Despite some minor miscues in each of the first two runs on Thursday, Hollingsworth gradually worked her way up the standings.

She was in fifth after the first run then moved up to third before the second heat.

After a night to regroup and prepare for her run for gold, Hollingsworth was hoping to run down Williams for gold on her home track but the British slider wasn’t having any of it. In run No. 3, on a bright late afternoon on Blackcomb Mountain, Williams increased her overnight lead over Hollingsworth from 0.39 to 0.52.

Hollingsworth, meanwhile, started the day .09 behind Szymkowiak but moved 0.01 ahead of her after the third round.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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