I got SO riled up on Friday night about skeleton. I was watching the final race of the 2012-2013 Skeleton World Cup season, which was in Sochi on the new track that they will be using for the next Winter Olympics. I’ve been watching all season long and was REALLY excited to see how all my favourites do on this track that was brand new for all of them.
I follow a lot of skeletoners on Twitter and for the past two weeks they had been tweeting about cancelled practice sessions and poor ice conditions and horrible hotel food and all sorts of negative stuff. And the fact that it was 17ºC out!
Anyway man oh man the mens race was BANANAS. Especially the first half of the first heat.
- Tomass Dukurs started pushing his sled, then at the last possible second decided it wasn’t a good push and quickly managed to stop his sled, do a u-turn and carry his sled back to the start line to try again. This is allowed as long as long as they haven’t reached the first timing eye, and they do actually start within the 30 second start window. It was very surprising because I have never seen any one do that before.
- The start groove was really NOT straight and many sliders hit in to the walls right at the very top of the run.
- One guy smashed into the side and a mini avalanche of snow and ice fell down on to the track. And then no one cleaned it up!! So the next few sliders had a big disadvantage because they had to slide over a bunch of ice chunks.
- The track has a totally unique uphill section.
- The outrun looks super dangerous and several sliders hurt themselves trying to slow down.
- There is exposed wood in several places down the track, and the ice is super bumpy. Many sliders pinballed down the track. Some sliders opted out of the race because their brain was too rattled from training runs.
- Everyone struggled except Martins Dukurs, he made it look easy as usual. He is an INSANELY good skeletoner from Latvia. If he won this race he would win €100,000 for the “Triple Crown” by winning three specific races during the year. It was close between him and a Russian but of course Martins won!! HE IS AMAZING! I think he finished the season with 8 gold medals and 2 silvers, in 10 races, plus the title of World Cup Champion. And when he won a race he won by a mile.
The womens race wasn’t as exciting. The ice was deteriorating quickly and each person coming down had a slower time than the person before them. At least they straightened out the start groove so there wasn’t near as many wall smashes. My favourite non-Canadian slider Noelle Pikus-Pace won the race, and a German girl won the World Cup.
Well now I’m sad that the skeleton World Cup is over, but I’ve still got one more weekend of sliding to come in two weeks so that is good. And I can’t wait until the Olympics!!!
PS My skeleton coach was Martins Dukurs coach in the Vancouver Olympics. :D You can see him yelling at him to run fast in the Olympics footage.