Australia’s Bree Walker has claimed her first World Cup podium of the Olympic season, taking bronze in the women’s monobob competition in Austria.
After placing sixth in the opening event last weekend, Walker nailed her two runs to finish 0.19 seconds behind gold medallist Elana Meyers Taylor.
The American also won round one, while Germany’s Laura Nolte took silver in this weekend’s racing on the Innsbruck course.
Walker, a 29-year-old Victorian, is aiming to become Australia’s first representative in the new Olympic women’s only event – an individual bobsleigh – which will debut at the Games in Beijing in February.
The event is unique with all athletes using identical bobs, which removes the advantage of technology and makes it accessible for more countries to become involved.
Walker was in second spot after the first run, dropping one spot on the second, but was delighted with her medal – after winning twice on the course last season.
Quick off the mark
“We made a few important changes this week which obviously had a huge impact,” Walker, who is one of the best pushers in the field due to her track and field background, said.
“For me personally, I feel like myself and my team need the week to settled into our racing routine and I very much needed the runs under my belt to get the feel for driving again.
“This race certainly gives me confidence but this season is a marathon, not a sprint so we hope to build off this result.”
Fellow Australian Ashley Werner was 21st.
Walker and Werner will be both back in action in Innsbruck, piloting Australia’s two entries in the the two-woman bobsleigh World Cup.
Meanwhile, Olympic luger Alex Ferlazzo was one of 30 athletes unable to compete in the World Cup in Sochi, Russia, this weekend when his sled was left off a charter flight.
Queenslander Ferlazzo, who is attempting to qualify for his third Games, raced last weekend in the opening race on the Beijing Olympic track.
“Due to circumstances out of my control I’m without a sled and cannot race,” Ferlazzo posted on Instagram.
“My box along with 30 others didn’t make it on the charter flight from Beijing forcing athletes without a sled to either borrow or simply miss a race.
“Hopefully my sled will arrive in time for next week’s World Cup sliding schedule.
“If not I will weigh up the risk that comes with using a completely different sled on this demanding track.”
Round three is also in Sochi.