Russia sweeps golds in World Cup skeleton at Lake Placid

Alexander Tretiakov, of Russia, celebrates his first place finish in the men's skeleton World Cup race with fans in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday, Dec 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Russia swept the gold medals at a World Cup skeleton race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Friday, with Elena Nikitina’s winning margin in the women’s race the largest on tour in nearly three years.

Nikitina finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.93 seconds. Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling was second in 1:51.05 and Austria’s Janine Flock was third in 1:51.11.

Nikitina’s 1.12-second margin of victory is enormous for sliding and was the biggest in a World Cup race since Jan. 20, 2017, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Canadian Mirela Rahneva topped runner-up Kendall Wesenberg of the U.S. by 1.83 seconds.

Rahneva was fourth on Friday, while Wesenberg was the top American and placed fifth.

Rahneva, an Ottawa-based Olympian, was on pace to secure a spot on the podium until a mistake in the bottom of the track.

"There were lots of building blocks laid here over the last two weeks. I've slid personal bests all week," said Rahneva. "The conditions played a big role on race day, but I'm so happy with my result."

In the men’s race, Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov won in 1:46.55. Latvia’s Martins Dukurs was second in 1:46.59 and Germany’s Felix Keisinger was third in 1:46.97. Austin Florian was the top U.S. finisher, placing 12th.

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