ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Canada's Mirela Rahneva captured her second career World Cup skeleton gold medal at the birthplace of sliding sports on Friday.
The 30-year-old Ottawa racer gave Canada its first win in any World Cup sliding event — bobsled, skeleton or luge — this season.
Rahneva, who now has six career World Cup medals, took gold at the same St. Moritz track in 2017.
"It feels really good," said Rahneva. "I love it at St. Moritz. I'm trying to figure out why it is exactly so I can bring it with me to other tracks, but I think it is just the long straightaways and beautiful ice. It a privilege to slide here.
"I have a smile from the dressing room to the start line, and I keep that smile all the way. It is beautiful here. You are sliding in the middle of the forest. It is very peaceful and quiet. You just really get in the moment because it is so quiet. This is my jam. It is my track and I'm not giving it back.”
Rahneva was sitting in second spot after the first run but jumped to the top of the standings with the fastest down time in the second heat.
Her previous best finish this year was fifth.
"The last time I went into Horseshoe (corner) and hit the roof and was 13th in the first run. Then I had a track record run. This year I told myself to stay away from the roof. I made a mistake in the first run that threw me off a bit and went into Horseshoe nervous but came out okay. The second run today I laid it down and solidified it.
"This result is huge. I definitely thought I’d have a better season this year and was questioning a lot of things. It hasn't been very enjoyable and tough mentally, so it is good to have a that little confidence boost going into the North American portion of the tour and the world championships in Whistler."
Russia's Elena Nikitina was second and Germany's Jacqueline Loelling was third.
North Vancouver's Jane Channell was 13th and Calgary's Elisabeth Maier was 15th.
In the men's race, Olympic champion Yun Sungbin of South Korea got his first World Cup skeleton win of the season on Friday, moving him back into the overall lead by the slimmest of margins.
Yun edged Alexander Tretiakov by two-tenths of a second, and now leads the Russian in the race to be the overall World Cup champion this season by a single point — 1,045-1,044.
Russian Nikita Tregubov took bronze.
Kevin Boyer of Sherwood Park, Alta., was 10th, while Dave Greszczyszyn of Brampton, Ont., was 11th.
— with files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press