Sarah Reid in hunt after 2 runs in women’s skeleton
Mellisa Hollingsworth facing a disappointing end to her career
At the halfway point of the Olympic women’s skeleton event, Canadian Sarah Reid sits within sliding distance of the frontrunners.
Reid’s combined time of one minute, 58:31 seconds on Thursday has her in eighth place in the competition, which wraps up Friday with the final two runs at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Her teammate, veteran Mellisa Hollingsworth, didn’t fare as well. She clocked one minute, 59:38 seconds for her two runs, leaving her in 16th position.
"The ice is a bit more soft than I expected," said Hollingsworth. "You have to switch your runners to suit the conditions."
Britain’s Elizabeth Yarnold, regarded as the top skeleton racer in the world, leads the event with a total of one minute, 56:89 seconds after two runs, followed by American Noelle Pikus-Pace, who came in at one minute, 57:33 seconds.
For Hollingsworth, Friday’s final runs will mark the end of her storied skeleton career, as she plans to retire once the Olympics are over.
She came into Sochi hoping to wipe away the memories of her gutting experience in Vancouver in 2010, where she was in second place going into the final run, but fell all the way to fifth.
Hollingsworth, 33, has been battling concussion symptoms this season, and skipped the recent World Cup event in Igles, Austria in an attempt to recover fully in time for Sochi.
Reid, meanwhile, has made great strides on the skeleton circuit in recent years, after failing to qualify for Vancouver in 2010.
The 26-year-old from Calgary won a World Cup event in November 2012, and followed that with a bronze medal at the 2013 world championships.
Asked about her runs today, Reid replied that she didn't manage to bring her "A" game to the track.
"I trained better than I raced. I would have liked to close the gap more on my second run."
She added that she understands all too well the importance of getting off to a good start.
"You don't go into the second day of competition on an even playing field. I have a big gap to close. You have to have four consistent runs to close the deal."
She spent the past summer focusing on her pushing technique in order to improve her departing speed, and is poised to make some noise tomorrow if she can put a couple of good runs together.