Calgary's Jeff Pain rolled the dice but his gamble didn't pay off.
Thinking the sun would shine before yesterday's World Cup skeleton race at Canada Olympic Park, Pain opted for warm weather runners on his sled.
While the sun broke through for the second run and the temperature reached 14C, Pain had a rather slow first descent down the track under cloud cover and settled for third overall on the day, behind winner Gregor Staehli of Switzerland and American Zach Lund.
"I made a bad runner choice for the conditions. I thought the sun would come out and the track would be a little softer but it wasn't, so I skidded a bit at the top," said Pain, the reigning World Cup and world champion.
"In the middle, where I'm generally the best, I didn't have the best form. I wasn't too bad, good enough for third, I guess, and a bronze was all I deserved.
"But you've still got to be the best on two runs and the first one killed me."
Staehli finished with a two-run combined time of one minute, 53.35 seconds, followed by Lund in 1:53.39. Pain's time was 1:53.74, while Calgary firefighter Duff Gibson grabbed fourth in 1:54.11. Calgary's Paul Boehm was 13th, while Kelly Forbes was 23rd.
MOVING ON UPP: Some people compete for decades without winning a World Cup medal. Calgary bobsleigh driver Helen Upperton needed just three seasons as she reached the podium for the first time last night. And she did it with a rookie brakeman, Summerside, P.E.I.'s Heather Moyse.
The duo picked up the bronze medal with a two-run combined time of one minute, 54.18 seconds, which included tying the track start record of 5.60 seconds on their first run.
"I'm not sure we'll have time to let it sink in because right now we're packing for Lake Placid because we leave tomorrow morning," said an elated Upperton.
Germany's Sandra Kiriasis won in 1:53.36, followed by American Shauna Rohbock (1:54.04). Lesa-Mayes-Stringer of North Battleford, Sask., was 11th, while Barrie, Ont.'s Suzanne Gavine-Hlady finished 13th. Calgary's Amanda Stepenko was 20th.