Canadian monobob pilot Christine de Bruin ends ‘crazy week’ on top of the podium in Latvia

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Even before bobsleigh pilot Christine de Bruin reached the top of the difficult 16-turn track in Sigulda, Latvia on Saturday, she had to fight her way through a COVID outbreak on the Canadian team. .

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Eleven athletes and three staff have tested positive and entered a 10-day quarantine, including fellow monobob pilots Cynthia Appiah from Toronto and Melissa Lotholz from Barrhead, Alta. De Bruin somehow avoided the virus and turned his luck into a track record of 53.77 seconds and a second consecutive gold medal in the Monobob World Series, finishing in a time of two runs. of 1: 48.12. She was also in the lead in Altenberg, Germany before the Christmas holidays.

“What a crazy week. I don’t even know where to start, ”said de Bruin after the emotional victory over 14 other drivers. “I was very grateful that I was able to compete and to be able to go down the track for 54 seconds without having to think about COVID or what is going on with my team. Today was really pure bobsleigh fun and it turned into a win, which was a bonus. ”

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She literally made her way to the top of the podium, after the 5.78 second seventh place start time she recorded in each of the two runs put her at a disadvantage at the top of the track. Australian Breeana Walker turned the two best start times of 5.62 and 5.63 seconds into a silver medal. She made a mistake at the bottom of the track and finished about half a second behind de Bruin, while Russia’s Nadezhda Sergeeva won bronze.

“This trail is a lot of fun and requires your attention all the time,” said de Bruin. “There are a lot of corners where you can end up on your head, and I love the challenge of that.”

The peloton was weakened not only by the COVID epidemic in Canada, but also due to the fact that American pilots Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor, as well as Germans Laura Nolte and Kim Kalicki, skipped the event.

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With a second consecutive win worth 225 points, De Bruin’s total of 1,002 over the season puts her in first place, just ahead of Appiah (996) and Nolte (994). The 24 Monobob World Series races end in mid-January after two events in Innsbruck, Austria, two in Winterberg, Germany and the season finale in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The monobob will then make its Olympic debut in Beijing in February.

Also on Saturday, Justin Kripps of Summerland, BC and Ryan Sommer of White Rock, BC were the only Canadian entry in the two-man race as COVID set aside a second sled. Kripps and Sommer were fourth, 0.16 seconds off the podium. The race was won by Russians Rostislav Gaitiukevich and Mikhail Mordasov. Britain’s Brad Hall and Greg Cackett took silver and Austrians Benjamin Maier and Markus Sammer took bronze.

The Sigulda World Cup ends Sunday with a two-woman race and a second two-man race. De Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski of London, Ont. will be the only Canadian entry in the women’s race, while Kripps will team up with brakeman Cam Stones from Oshawa, Ont. in the two-man race.

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