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
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Bjorn Krupp’s journey started at the Duluth IceForum in suburban Atlanta.
Brooks Macek piled up the points in Bantam hockey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Notre Dame Hounds.
Men’s Gold Medal Final: OAR vs. CZE, Stream LIVE HERE 11:10p.m. EST / 8:10p.m. PST
Now they’re in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries. The U.S.-born Krupp and Canadian-born Macek have German fathers and now call Germany home with no apologies for beating or scoring against the countries of their birth.
When Macek scored a go-ahead power-play goal in what turned out to be a remarkable upset semifinal win against Canada, he pumped his fist and never felt conflicted about beating a team with the Maple Leafs on its jerseys.
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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — They forged bonds from Riga to Cologne and in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It’s all led Germany and the Russians to a David versus Goliath Olympic gold-medal game Sunday. Even though the Russians were favorites all along and expected to win gold in a tournament without NHL stars and Germany was a longshot to even reach the semifinals after not qualifying in Sochi, these two teams are more similar than they are different.
NBCOlympics.com: OAR to face surprising Germany in final
Their familiarity and continuity is the biggest reason they’re facing off in the final.
Germany’s core group has been together through the Olympic qualification tournament and world championships and has played the same system for the past three years under coach Marco Sturm. The Russians’ 25-man roster is made up of 15 players from SKA St. Petersburg and eight from CSKA Moscow, the two best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.
“That’s a big key to our success,” Germany defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said Saturday. “We were very familiar with each other. … (The Russians also) should be really familiar because almost everybody plays on the same teams in Russia.”
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