Canada's Mirela Rahneva slides to bronze at skeleton world championships
At 34 years old, Canada's Mirela Rahneva has won her first major international medal.
The Ottawa skeleton racer earned bronze at the skeleton world championships on Friday in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Rahneva, the two-time Olympian, entered the final run outside of podium position in fifth place, but notched the third-fastest time of the round to earn her medal.
"I love St. Moritz. I've been living with this sole purpose of being here and doing well at these world championships and today, I thought I didn't have a chance, and then I did, it is just insane," Rahneva said.
WATCH | Rahneva claims bronze:
Fellow Canadian Jane Channell went in the opposite direction, sliding from third place after the third run all the way to sixth after her worst run of the competition.
Channell, who clocked the second-fastest start time in all four heats, was hunting down her first podium on the famed chute but wasn't able to recover from a skid at the top of the track in the final heat.
"I wanted more. I knew I had it in me," said Channell. "I let a skid get to me and couldn't relax on my sled for the rest of the run. I made every mistake possible in my fourth run."
Germany's Susanne Kreher won gold with a total time of four minutes 33.57 seconds, while Dutch racer Kimberley Bos scored silver just one one-hundredth of a second behind.
Rahneva, 0.84 seconds behind Kreher at 4:34.41, narrowly edged fourth-placed Austrian Janine Flock (4:34.45). Channell, also 34 of North Vancouver, B.C., was more than one second off the winning pace.
Across three previous world championships dating to 2017, Rahneva had never placed better than eighth in individual competitions. She was part of a Canadian squad that won silver in a team event in 2019.
Rahneva also placed fifth at the Beijing Olympics, a sign of things to come for the current World Cup season in which she ranks second after reaching the podium in two of six races.
Rahneva broke out with a scream in the leaders box after realizing her podium goal was achieved.
"It feels really good because I've been left off the podium in important races before where it could have happened, but things didn't line up," she said. "I did everything possible to get this done. I had the right preparation. I brought my coach in. Everything I possibly could have needed was here."
She won gold last month in Utah.
WATCH | Full coverage of the women's fourth heat: