|Amy Gough of Canada jumps on her sled in the first run during the women's skeleton race at the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup competition in Calgary on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)
CALGARY - It was a good day for Canada, but it was an even better day for Great Britain.
Canadian skeleton racers Amy Gough of Calgary, Mellisa Hollingsworth of Airdrie, and Sarah Reid of Calgary placed third, fifth and seventh, respectively, in Thursday’s World Cup season finale at Canada Olympic Park, but they were upstaged on their home track by Great Britain sliders Shelley Rudman and Elizabeth Yarnold.
While Yarnold captured gold with a two-run total of 1:55.93, Rudman claimed her first Crystal Globe as the season’s top racer.
It was an emotional win for the 30-year-old Brit, who had fallen short of winning the Crystal Globe in the season’s final race for three straight years prior to Thursday’s tie for third place with Gough, which gave her enough points to hoist the coveted glass prize.
“I did it for my mom and dad,” Rudman said with tears streaming down her face.
“My dad suffered a brain hemmorage this time last year and nearly lost his life. He’s made a really good recovery, but he really wanted me to win the overall when he was ill in hospital this time last year.
“I kind of promised him that I’d keep going and try and win it, so it’s really special.”
Marion Thees, of Germany, finished second in the overall standings, while fellow countrywoman Anja Huber, who finished second at COP, finished third in the season standings.
Hollingsworth, the top overall Canadian this season with a fourth-place finish and the 2009-10 Crystal Globe winner, will now focus on the World Championships next weekend in Lake Placid, New York.
“I’m pretty happy with (the season), because everywhere I was going, I was definitely a podium threat,” Hollingsworth said.
Reid, 24, who finished 10th in the final season standings, and Gough, 34, who finished sixth, both briefly held top spot before being knocked out of the leader’s box.
“I really feel it’s just stepping stones to Sochi,” Gough said. “Last year was a great year for me, too, and this year, I’ve had some even better finishes.”
The men’s races followed under the lights at COP, with Latvia’s Martins Dukurs winning in a time of 1:51.88. Alexander Tretiakov of Russia finished second, followed by Germany’s Frank Rommel.
Dukurs continued his World Cup dominance, winning his 13th race in 14 starts, dating back to December 2010, and claiming the 2011-12 overall crown. Eric Neilson of Kelowna, posted the top Canadian result with a sixth-place showing in a time of 1:53.46, but the Canadian men couldn’t match the women, as John Fairbairn finished 13th, followed by Michael Douglas, who was 18th.