From Sigulda, LAT
Feb. 16, 2020 – Elena Nikitina broke both the start record and track record on her way to gold in Sigulda.
The Latvian track is considered a second home for Russian sliders, and it showed, with Nikitina putting her best two slides of the year together to win by .34 over Swiss slider Marina Gilardoni.
Gilardoni’s second run tied the track record set by Nikitina in the first heat to move up from fourth to tie a career-best second for her fifth skeleton medal of her career.
Janine Flock fell from second to third, while Yulia Kanakina finished just out of the medals in fourth. Kim Meylemans moved up from eighth to fifth, and Renata Khuzina rounded out the top six in sixth.
The battle for the World Cup title came down to the last few runs of the day. Jacqueline Lölling came into the day with a decent lead, needing to finish in the top eight to clinch the title. She hadn’t finished that far back since November of 2017 in Lake Placid.
Lölling’s teammate Tina Hermann, also in contention for an overall title, crashed on her second run and fell down to 15th, moving Lölling into eighth, enough to win the overall title.
Janine Flock finished the season in second overall. Elena Nikitina’s win, coupled with Tina Hermann’s disappointing 15th place run, moved the Russian into third overall.
The track in Sigulda did not treat the Americans well on this trip to Latvia. Megan Henry led the way, moving up from a tie for 18th to 17th. Teammates Savannah Graybill and Kendall Wesenberg finished just behind Henry in 18th and 19th, respectively.
Kim Murray led the way for Great Britain, moving up from 16th to tenth, just .01 behind Kiberley Bos. Laura Deas finished three spots back in 13th. Brogan Crowley, in first World Cup start, just barely missed the cut for the second heat in 22nd.
The Canadians had a uncharacteristically tough race in Sigulda. Jane Channell led the way in 16th on the strength of one of the fastest starts of the day. Mimi Rahneva and Madi Charney both missed the second heat, with Rahneva finishing 21st and Charney 25th.
Kimberley Bos was the big mover in the race, jumping up from a tie for 18th to ninth.
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