From Sigulda, LAT
Feb. 15, 2020 – The track in Sigulda has never been faster, and that speed in Latvia helped the brothers Dukurs go one-two on home ice.
Like in the women’s bobsled race the day before, the track record fell fast and often, with Chinese slider Zheng Yin dropping it first to a 50.71, and then Alexander Gassner to a 50.62. Sungbin Yun came down sixth and dropped it even further to a 50.36 before Martins Dukurs finished lowering it in the first heat with a 50.15.
By the end of that first run, the top 10 had all finished below the old track record of 50.81.
On the second heat, times went even lower. Zheng Yin broke the start record in, lowering it to a 4.47 on his second push, while Martins Dukurs became the first man to ever slide the track in Sigulda in under 50 seconds with a 49.94.
Dukurs’ two track records were the two fastest times of the day were more than enough to give him his first World Cup gold medal in Sigulda, and his 11th straight European Championship.
Finishing behind Martins Dukurs was brother and teammate Tomass Dukurs, who came into the second heat in third, but leapfrogged Korean Sunbgin Yun to take silver. Yun made a late mistake in his second run to fall to third.
Felix Keisinger once again climbed up after an iffy first heat, moving to fourth overall from tenth in the first run, while Alexander Tretiakov finished fifth and Alexander Gassner sixth.
For the European Championships, Keisinger took bronze behind the Dukurs brothers, while Tretiakov, Gassner, and Nikita Tregubov rounded out the top six in the European Championships.
With his win, Martins Dukurs won his tenth World Cup championship, finishing the year 62 points ahead of Tretiakov and 84 points ahead of Yun. Felix Keisinger, Alexander Gassner, and Tomass Dukurs round out the top six of the 2019/2020 season.
Marcus Wyatt was the top finishing British slider, dropping to eighth on his second run after coming into the heat in seventh. Jerry Rice made his return to World Cup action with a 12th place run, up from 17th in the first heat. Craig Thompson struggled to find rhythm on the Latvian track, finishing 24th.
The 2019/2020 World Cup season was a season of learning for the American men, with only Austin Florian having had runs on most of the European tracks. Florian finished his second World Cup season with a 19th finish, while teammates Andrew Blaser and Alex Ivanov finished 25th and 27th, respectively.
Canada’s Kevin Boyer finished his season in 18th place, leapfrogging teammate Kyle Murray in the second heat. Murray finished 20th, his best finish of the 2019/2020 season.
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