Russian rocket Tretiakov blasts off with skeleton track record at the Sanki
Russia's Alexander Tretiakov clinched the lead in the men's skeleton after the first day of the competition at the Sanki Sliding Centre.
The 2013 world champion clocked a combined time of 1 minute 51.99 seconds after two runs to gain a lead of 0.56 seconds over two-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia. John Daly of the USA is in third spot.
“The fact that I managed to get the lead on the first day seriously boosts my confidence,” said Tretiakov, who set a new track record of 55.95 seconds on his first run.
“However, I cannot relax. Martins [Dukurs] is a strong competitor and an experienced fighter. I will need to concentrate my utmost on my remaining runs,” he added.
The 28-year-old also praised the fans at the Sanki for their passionate support: “At the start I felt a strong burst of energy like someone pushed me ahead. It's a fantastic feeling.”
Meanwhile, Dukurs, who has won five straight overall World Cup skeleton titles, said he was content with his performance.
“My runs today were both solid compared to how I went in training and it's something to build on,” he reflected.
“But you always need to be ready to fight for what you want so I am happy to be where I am now with two runs to come.”
Daly, who finished the first two runs 1.03 seconds behind Dukurs, was particularly pleased with his second effort.
“First run was a little touch-and-go but I was able to clean it up and learn from it to improve my second,” he commented.
The medals will be decided after the third and fourth runs on 15 February, with the times from all four runs combined to determine the winner.