Add Matt Antoine to the extensive list of U.S. Olympic medal contenders in sliding sports.
Antoine, 28, bagged his first career World Cup skeleton victory in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday. He posted a two-run time of 1 minute, 47.58 seconds, a healthy .63 of a second ahead of Russian Aleksander Tretiakov.
“I’m a little beside myself right now,” Antoine said in the awards area. “This is a great moment for me.”
Latvian Tomass Dukurs was third, .03 ahead of another American, John Daly.
“I was a bit surprised that so crappy runs get on the podium,” Dukurs said.
The tall, lanky Antoine became the first American man to win a World Cup race since Eric Bernotas in January 2010. He worked up to the victory this season with seventh- and third-place finishes in the first two World Cups before Friday.
U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton went three for three in Lake Placid on Friday. Antoine’s win followed victories by Steve Holcomb in two-man bobsled and Noelle Pikus-Pace in women’s skeleton.
The men’s skeleton World Cup continues in Winterberg, Germany, in January.
Lake Placid Men’s Skeleton
1. Matthew Antoine (USA) 1:47.58
2. Aleksander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:48.21
3. Tomass Dukurs (LAT) 1:48.34
4. John Daly (USA) 1:48.37
7. Kyle Tress (USA) 1:48.57
Pikus-Pace stays hot in Lake Placid
Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.
Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.
Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.
WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET
On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.
Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice
In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.
The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.
The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.
MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi