Canada's Rahneva slides to skeleton bronze at world championships

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Canada's Mirela Rahneva slid to a bronze medal Friday in women's skeleton competition at the bobsled and skeleton world championships.

The 34-year-old from Ottawa captured her first world championship medal with a combined four-run time of four minutes 34.41 seconds.

Rahneva was in second place and Jane Channell of North Vancouver, B.C., was third at the halfway point of the event.

A challenging third run down the world's only non-refrigerated sliding track dropped Rahneva to fifth spot, while Channell remained in the bronze-medal position.

Rahneva battled back in the final heat, where she threw down the third-fastest run to solidify the bronze.

Germany’s Susanne Kreher finished first with a total time of 4:33.57, beating Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands by just one-hundredth of a second.

Channell was sixth in 4:34.76.

"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.

Rahneva, a fifth-place finisher at the 2022 Olympics, 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."

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."

Rahneva entered the world championships in second place in the overall World Cup standings thanks to a victory in Park City, Utah, and a silver medal in Winterberg, Germany.

Matt Weston of Britain won the men's race in 4:28.71.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press