Joy 'n' pain

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

By shattering the track record on the very first run of the day, Calgary's Jeff Pain left no doubt as to who would capture the 2005 world skeleton championship.

Even though there were still 52 more runs to come from the world's best yesterday, Pain had his second world championship title in the bag when he became the first person to break the 56-second mark at Canada Olympic Park, tearing up the track in 55.75 seconds.

Pain's final run was a formality as he obliterated the field with a four-heat combined time of three minutes 44.52 seconds.

Another Calgarian, Duff Gibson, claimed the bronze in 3:45.82, with Switzerland's Gregor Staehli taking the silver in 3:45.32.

And Pain knows what the other athletes felt like with the daunting task of trying to beat him.

"I had former world champion Ryan Davenport do that to me six or seven years ago," said Pain, 30, who won his first world title in 2003.

"I was chasing him and he ripped one off -- he did the first 56 ever -- and I remember thinking 'I can't go that fast,' so I had a little bit of an advantage today if I could lay down a good run.

"I've been in that situation, so that helped me."

Pain, who also broke the record Sunday, didn't realize just how big his lead was heading into his final run because he chose not to check the scoreboard.

"I had a rough idea," he said. "I figured it was around three-tenths of a second but it was five-tenths and my coach, Willy Schneider, when he won worlds in St. Mortiz, didn't look at the board, so I thought I'd try that."

Pain, whose wife and two kids cheered him on, thanked the COP crew for setting a perfect track and allowing him to get under 56 seconds.

"That's been my goal for a lot of years. That was a very special run," said Pain, adding it's the best he's slid in his career.

Pain, who also won the overall World Cup title earlier this season, credited much of his success this season, aside from being healthy, to having a better relationship with his teammates, especially Gibson, after they viewed each other as rivals and didn't share information over the last several years.

Things got so tense Pain almost quit last season.

"I take a lot of blame on myself because it was a lot of me insulating myself from the team and I learned a lot of lessons last year when I broke my foot," he said.

"I felt I wasn't part of the team," he added, noting a meeting last summer with Gibson and Paul Boehm helped smooth things out.

After watching his teammate's amazing run, Gibson, who was third heading into the final two runs, knew the gold medal belonged to Pain.

"As soon as Jeff did his run this morning, I knew that was going to be tough to beat," said Gibson, 38, last year's world champion.

Calgary's Kelly Forbes, a national-team rookie, showed the future's bright for the men's skeleton team by finishing 11th.

Boehm settled for 25th, thanks mostly to a disastrous start on Sunday's second run when he stepped on his sled.


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