|Canada's Jon Montgomery starts his first trial run at FIBT World Cup Men's Skeleton. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)
WHISTLER, B.C. - The top step of the podium at the Whistler Sliding Centre ought to have a sign reading “this space reserved for Jon Montgomery”.
The 31-year-old Russell, Man. native won the first world cup skeleton meet of the season Friday on the same track where he won 2009 world cup gold and 2010 Winter Olympic gold.
“If I keep having success here it’s going start to feel like pressure coming back here,” Montgomery said. “The moment you place that pressure on yourself, you’re going to feel the burden to perform and that’s not what helps you realize the best performance.”
Montgomery had a two-run, combined time of one minute, 47.56 seconds, 0.28 faster than 2008 world champion Kristan Bromley of Great Britain and 0.32 better than 2010 Olympic bronze medallist Alexander Tretiakov of Russia.
John Fairbairn of Calgary was 11th. Mike Douglas of Toronto was 13th.
Montgomery’s other two world cup wins were at Cesana, Italy in 2008 and 2009. He said Cesana and Whistler are tree-lined tracks set among dramatic mountains, like Banff, Alta., that offer him a sense of comfort.
Montgomery said his world cup celebration would be subdued, compared to last February's legendary Olympic victory march through Whistler Village with a pitcher of beer.
“I’d probably have to be collected in the morning from the tank or get arrested,” he said. “I think you only get one free pass in your lifetime.”
Instead, he planned to shuck oysters and nurse a pint of beer indoors at his favourite eatery, the Bearfoot Bistro.
“It’s a culinary experience that’ll blow your doors off,” Montgomery said.
The three-day bobsled and skeleton world cup continues Friday with the women’s bobsled and concludes with the men’s four-man bobsled on Saturday.