On Friday, February 3rd, skeleton athlete Bradley Chalupski proudly represented Israel at the FIBT World Cup race held at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Vancouver. This was the same track made infamous by the death of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili in training runs for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
In a field of 25 athletes, Bradley finished in 25th place with a time of 56.61 seconds, failing to qualify for a second run. However, Brad's push time of 4.76 was good for a tie for 17th place in the first heat. Giving a sense of how tightly packed the field was, 4 athletes were tied for 13th with a 4.75 start, and the 10th fastest push was a 4.73. Bradley actually out-pushed German Alexander Kroeckel (4.77), who placed fourth overall.
"The track was fast and very difficult," said Chalupski, "but by the end of the race, I was doing better than I expected. I was only two-tenths of a second behind the next guy ahead, and took a bad bump in the 16th turn, actually the worst I drove it out, including my training runs. My sliding was actually too controlled [in the race], and that's given my confidence a huge boost."
Bradley looks to open it up a little more on his return to the track at Calgary in next week's World Cup race there, which will be the last stop before returning to Lake Placid for World Championships.
Official results can be found on the FIBT website: http://www.fibt.com/index.php?id=526&tx_pxresults_pi1[event_id]=26575&cHash=ec1a1dc6dccbbf80580fa68bd439640f