Can't keep Kelly down

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Despite an injured Achilles tendon, two bum knees, a bad back, Michelle Kelly got it done.

Kelly was also dealing with the death of her step-father, Randy Blatz, who passed away after Christmas from lung disease.

But yesterday the plucky 30-year-old from Grande Prairie gutted out a bronze medal at the skeleton world championships at Canada Olympic Park, earning her first podium of a disastrous season.

Kelly said the medal is even more special because of her family.

"Back at hospital in December when my step-dad passed away, everyone was there and we made a promise. I promised I'd continue on tour and my family promised they'd all come together at this event and they did it. They came to support me and cheer me on and it made a big difference," said Kelly, adding her mom, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends were all on the hill.

Switzerland's Maya Pedersen won the gold with a four-run combined time of three minutes, 52.42 seconds, a special birthday present for her daughter who turned one Sunday. American Noelle Pikus-Pace was five-tenths back. Kelly, the 2003 world champion and world cup champ, finished in 3:53.18.

Calgary's Lindsay Alcock ended up sixth after battling back from a terrible first run on Sunday that had her in ninth place. Eckville's Mellisa Hollingsworth placed 10th, slipping from her opening-run position of seventh.

With her result, Kelly got in an all-important qualifier for next year's Winter Games in Turin, Italy. Now she's focusing on getting things back on track in 2005-06.

"It gives me nice boost going into the summer to see that I can still do it," said Kelly. "It makes me really excited to know that I can come from a year where it's been a struggle and it just shows that I'm ready for the Games no matter what happens. Nothing can happen to me that hasn't already happened."


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