Brandon’s Cassie Hawrysh took to the medal podium and Russell’s Jon Montgomery took an overseas flight on an eventful Monday for Westman’s Olympic skeleton hopefuls.
One day after placing sixth, Hawrysh, a 29-year-old Neelin High School graduate, raced to a silver medal in yesterday’s Intercontinental Cup women’s skeleton race in Whistler, B.C.
"It was great," Hawrysh said via telephone. "I got to put down one run that was a personal best for me ever here, which was great for the first run, and hold onto that position in run two, which is the big thing here in Whistler is consistency. I know that I have been able to demonstrate that in the past, so I wanted to prove it to myself more than anyone ... So yeah, silver medal is fantastic."
Hawrysh now heads to Park City, Utah, for two more races this weekend as she tries to make a late bid to earn a spot in February’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
"That’s another track that I enjoys sliding, so I’m looking forward to that," said Hawrysh, who is hoping to do well enough in Park City to earn promotion to the top World Cup tour in time for the sixth race in Igls, Austria in two weeks. "There’s still a chance and there’s still hope and that’s what I am holding on to and helping motivate me."
Hawrysh started the season on the World Cup tour ranked ninth in the world but is now 22nd, due to the fact she earns fewer points per race after being sent down to the second-tier IC tour. She is trying to catch Robynne Thompson — who is ranked 18th in the world after struggling to a pair of 17th-place finishes in her last two races — for a spot on the World Cup tour as Canada tries to qualify a third slider for the Olympics before the Jan. 19 deadline.
"Ultimately, I know that is a possibility," Hawrysh said. "So I am still in the mix."
So is Montgomery on the men’s side, after racing to a bronze medal on Sunday and a fifth-place finish on Monday during the IC stop in Whistler. After the race, the 34-year-old gold medallist from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was promoted to the World Cup tour, taking an overnight flight to join the Canadian team in St. Moritz, Switzerland for this week’s races as Canada also tries to qualify a third slider on the men’s side for Sochi.
" I feel like I’ve got a real good shot here and it’s just a matter of making the most of it," said Montgomery, who is now ranked 24th in the world to bump 25th-ranked Dave Greszczyszyn out of Canada’s third World Cup spot. "I will get two training runs and then have to do two races. Apparently the track is pretty tricky right now ... so I am going to have my work cut out for me."