Canada's de Bruin, Bujnowski capture bronze in 2-woman bobsleigh at World Cup in Latvia

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Canadian bronze medallists Christine de Bruin, left, and Kristen Bujnowski celebrate during the award ceremony following the two-woman Bobsleigh World Cup competition in Sigulda, Latvia on Sunday. (Roman Koksarov/The Associated Press - image credit)
Canadian bronze medallists Christine de Bruin, left, and Kristen Bujnowski celebrate during the award ceremony following the two-woman Bobsleigh World Cup competition in Sigulda, Latvia on Sunday. (Roman Koksarov/The Associated Press - image credit)

Canada's Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski won bronze in the two-woman bobsleigh competition at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia on Sunday.

The Canadians finished two runs in 1 minute, 42.12 seconds (0.24 seconds back) for their fourth two-woman bronze medal of the season and seventh overall since teaming up following the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

The Canadian duo has only missed the podium in two races this season. De Bruin was coming off a monobob win on Saturday, her second gold medal of the season.

"Mission accomplished," beamed the 32-year-old de Bruin after climbing onto the podium in both races on the same weekend for the first time of her career.

"We wanted to work on our consistency and rack up some points to prepare for Beijing, and we did just that. We were consistent in our pushes and in driving down the track, so we are happy with that."

WATCH l Christine de Bruin, Kristen Bujnowski earn World Cup bronze:

Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. finished atop the podium in the two-woman competition for her first World Cup women's bobsleigh win in nearly three years and 19th career victory on the circuit.

She teamed with Lake Kwaza to finish two runs in 1:41.88, while the British sled driven by Mica McNeill and pushed by Adele Nicoll won silver in 1:42.10 (0.22 seconds back).

De Bruin and Bujnowski were in fourth following their first run down the 1,420-metre track, but they battled their way to the podium after posting the second-fastest start time (5.34) and top down time (51.11) on their final run.

Sunday's podium finish caps off a challenging week that saw Canada's bobsleigh team get hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, with 11 athletes and three coaches in isolation.

"We didn't put a lot of pressure on ourselves today. This week was really hard. We were worried about our teammates and stressed about our own COVID test results all week so we were just grateful to be able to compete," said Bujnowski.

Meyers Taylor leads the overall World Cup women's standings with 2108 points, followed by de Bruin with 2090. De Bruin sits first overall in the World Cup monobob standings and is second overall in the two-woman standings behind Meyers Taylor.

Meyers Taylor and Kwaza were tied with the Russian sled of Nadezhda Sergeeva and Yulia Belomestnykh after the first heat. But the Russians crashed in their second run, finishing 15th.

It was Meyers Taylor's first women's World Cup bobsleigh win in her last 11 starts, her most recent victory coming in February 2019 at the Americans' home track in Lake Placid, New York. That doesn't include her three wins in the Women's Monobob World Series — one person in the sled — this season.

Kwaza won a World Cup gold for the second time; her other was in that Lake Placid race with Meyers Taylor in 2019.

Kaillie Humphries, the other U.S. women's pilot on the World Cup circuit this season, took the weekend off to extend her holiday break.

Germany's Friedrich, Margis win 2-man competition

Francesco Friedrich's losing streak is over — after one race.

A day after his 21-race World Cup winning streak came to an end in a stunning 12th-place finish, the German star bounced back to get a narrow victory in a two-man event. Friedrich teamed with Thorsten Margis to win in 1:39.16, barely holding off the British sled of Brad Hall and Nick Gleeson.

Hall and Gleeson were second in 1:39.22. Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis of Latvia were third in 1:39.71.

The Canadian duo of Justin Kripps and Cam Stones finished eighth (1: 39.89).

Codie Bascue and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor were the top U.S. sled, finishing tied for 10th. Hunter Church and Josh Williamson were 16th for the Americans.

The World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton circuit has just two stops left, the first of those coming next weekend in Winterberg, Germany. The World Cup season ends Jan. 15-16 in St. Moritz, Switzerland, before sliders head to China for the Beijing Olympics in February.

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