–By Ottawa Sportspage
A number of Ottawa athletes made their mark on the international sports stage recently.
Rahneva remains queen of St. Moritz skeleton
Buoyed by her signature rarely-matched start times, Mimi Rahneva topped the podium with a Jan. 25 World Cup skeleton victory in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“This is my jam. It is my track and I’m not giving it back,” Rahneva – who also won by a record margin in 2017 on the World Cup circuit’s only natural ice chute – said in a Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton media release. “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.”
Rahneva had placed 12th, 5th, 14th and 13th in her previous World Cup races before the breakthrough at the sliding sport’s birthplace.
“This result is huge,” added the 2018 Olympian. “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.”
Blondin wins season-best silver at World Champs
Speed skater Ivanie Blondin earned her best result of the season in the biggest race of the year when she won a silver medal in the women’s mass start race on Feb. 10 at the ISU World Single Distance Championships in Germany.
“I’m pretty ecstatic about the result,” Blondin – who’d earned a career-best 4th-place 1,500-metre finish in the last World Cup before the World Championships – said via Speed Skating Canada. “I sacrificed my 1,500 m race (did not enter) to save my legs for the final sprint. I was able to start the final sprint a bit earlier and create a gap, so I’m really happy with my decision and race plan.”
The two-time Olympian will race in the World Allround Championships Mar. 1-2 in Calgary.
Isabelle Weidemann’s top result came in the women’s 5,000 m, finishing 4th – the same spot she and Blondin helped Canada earn in the women’s team pursuit.
Record-setting win for Scotties-bound Team Homan
The Rachel Homan Ottawa Curling Club rink earned a record-breaking 10th career Grand Slam title when they won the Meridian Canadian Open on Jan. 13 in North Battleford, Sask.
“It feels great,” Team Homan third Emma Miskew said in a news release. “We actually weren’t thinking about (the record) at all until we saw it up on the screen after. It’s exciting.”
Canada’s 2018 Olympic representatives also topped the field at the Jan. 28-Feb. 2 Ontario Scotties to earn a guaranteed berth in the Feb. 16-24 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, N.S.
Chartrand rises to Canadian figure skating crown
Nepean Skating Club product Alaine Chartrand earned the chance to represent Canada at the Mar. 18-24 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan thanks to her victory at January’s Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in St. John, N.B.
Just 5th after the short program, Chartrand opened with a triple-triple combination and soared into the women’s gold medal spot – the second Canadian crown of her career following her 2016 title.
“Today was the redemption I was looking for,” Chartrand said via Skate Canada. “It felt really special. I was working through being methodical and not looking too far ahead. It worked well for me. Once I was done all the jumps, I could really let it go and hear the crowd roar as I came around the end.”