Hollingsworth golden in Whistler

Skeleton racer Melissa Hollingsworth straps on the helmet before a golden run in Whistler. (Andy...

Skeleton racer Melissa Hollingsworth straps on the helmet before a golden run in Whistler. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:11 PM ET

WHISTLER, B.C. - Mellisa Hollingsworth has exorcised the demons of Vancouver 2010 with a World Cup victory in women’s skeleton.

Hollingsworth’s win Thursday night was part of a Canadian swarming of the podium on the Olympic track.

Kaillie Humphries and Emily Baadsvik won the women’s bobsleigh race where Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown teamed up to win bronze.

The event began with Hollingsworth finally slaying the dragon on a track that has plagued her for two years by winning gold.

“It’s a super emotional day,” Hollingsworth said. “I had to lay this to rest and win this.

“It’s got to stop haunting me. I think it was one step last year of being on the podium (winning silver) and showing I can be consistent and now it’s showing that this is my home track and I can slide the fastest here. Today was redemption and a sense of relief.”

Days removed from the second anniversary of when the 31-year-old Eckville, Alta. native experienced a heart-breaking defeat at the Olympic Games — dropping from second to fifth following a skid on her final run — the ghosts of 2010 began circling the start house at the top of the 1,450-metre 16-corner track during the second heat where Hollingsworth was slated to be the final sled down after clocking the fastest opening run at 55.09.

“As I was warming up, it felt eerie because it was the same month, same setting sun and same place after the second run asthat day in 2010 with the opportunity to be on the podium and win the gold medal.

“A lot of people would be dying to be in this position. I appreciate being in the number onespot going into (run) number two. I know I’m my own worst enemy. The number one word in front of my head was respect, respect for this track and it was me and my sled.”

Hollingsworth clocked a golden time of 1:49.79 to chalk up the seventh World Cup victory and 31st medal in her 17-year career, moving her into third spot in the Overall World Cup standings with one race remaining in Calgary next week.

“The first (victory) is huge, but this is the biggest one of my career,” said Hollingsworth, who also has an Olympic bronze and two world championship medals. “It is a couple of years late, but that doesn’t mean it is not going to help me moving forward towards Sochi.”

Calgary’s 24-year-old Sarah Reid posted hersecond-best World Cup finish in sixth at 1:50.55. Amy Gough, of Abbotsford, B.C., placed seventh with a time of 1:50.60.

The memories of the 2010 Olympics continued into the women’s bobsleigh race where Humphries and Helen drove the top-two Canadian sleds onto the podium.

Calgary’s 26-year-old Humphries, who dominated the Whistler track to win Olympic gold two years ago, teamed up with 28-year-old Emily Baadsvik, of St. Stephen, N.B., to capture her third World Cup victory after clocking a two-run time of 1:46.68.

“It definitely feels good to get the gold,” said Humphries, who finished third at the World Cup in Whistler last season. “I made a mistake in corner 7 and 8 last year and in all honesty I was saying ‘just don’t happen again.’ I learned my lesson and it worked out tonight.”

It was the 11th World Cup medal of Humphries’ career as a pilot.

Upperton reunited with her Olympic silver-medal winning teammate, Shelley-Ann Brown of Pickering, Ont., to win her 19th World Cup medal after claiming the bronze in her first event of the season. The Canadian duo clocked a combined time of 1:47.09.

“It is bit of a weird start to the season to have my first race in February, but was certainly fun to be back and get on the podium,” said Upperton.

“Shelley and I love this place and were really excited to be here racing again.”

Edmonton’s Jenny Ciochetti and Montreal’s Marquise Brisebois teamed up in the Canada 3 sled for their first career World Cup, finishing 12th at 1:48.86.


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