So much for home track advantage. A bit of gamesmanship backfired in a huge way on the Canadian women’s skeleton team Thursday night in the Olympic track’s opening race.
Mellisa Hollingsworth plummeted to ninth with a disastrous second run when she ricocheted off the walls like a pinball after being fastest in the first run, while Michelle Kelly placed 10th behind winner Marion Trott of Germany in the World Cup race.
It was a big blow for a Canadian team expecting to contend for medals on this treacherous and technical layout at the Winter Olympics next February.
The Canadians ruffled feathers last week when they didn’t show up for training. The strategy was to not give anything away to their competitors after gaining knowledge through extra training.
It didn’t impress officials with the sport’s governing body, the FIBT, because the tradition is the host country shows the way on a new track.
But there was just one problem with Canada’s plan — the track was modified heavily to make it less dangerous and thus had a totally different feel.
Hollingsworth, bronze medallist at the 2006 Turin Olympics, said it was a mistake to skip the training.
“I guess we learned a lesson,” she said.
Another lesson learned the hard way for Hollingsworth was the dangers of being too aggressive on the track. She exerted too much pressure on her sled in corner No. 4 and hit the wall and then, as she put it, became like a “water slide ride” as she kept riding up and down the walls. She was 17th out of 21 racers in the second run.
Her watery eyes gave away just how much it hurt.
“It hasn’t really set in,” said Hollingsworth. “I’m disappointed and angry and a little bit confused and so that’s why I’m going to have to go back and look at the video, go check out the ice and have a better game plan for next time we come here.”
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