ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Earlier this week the Latvian Olympic Committee released their promotional posters for Vancouver 2010, using the faces of three prominent Latvians. The three selected were hockey goalie Edgars Masaļskis, female sledder Maia Taruma and Janis Minins. Perhaps the most surprising omission was Martins Dukurs, or even younger brother Tomass Dukurs who are in reality, Latvia’s only real medal hopes. It makes one think the decision was made before the current season began, especially when one considers Dukurs’ recent form.
Martins Dukurs has maintained his lead in the skeleton World Cup whilst Janis Minins has had a horror weekend piloting the bobsled.
The most recent round of the World Cup became something of a farce with a number of riders having troubles at the start of the course, with more than one sled coming out of the tracks. Due to a number of complaints from a number of the top riders it was agreed to discard the first round results, meaning that the second run would count for everything. It should also be noted that St. Moritz is the only “natural track” included in the world series, in that it is not designed as a chute like so many other tracks but is rather a much wider track with 90 degree walls. Some are more suited to such a track than other.
Regardless both the Dukurs performed admirably with Martins making the podium in third spot and brother Tomass finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th position. The result see the brothers hold their places of first and fourth respectively in the World Cup rankings.
In the latest World Cup meet Minins was one of the slowest pilots in both the two and four-man event, failing to finish in the top 20 and make second round in both formats. For the first time this season, it was his understudy Edgars Maskalāns who was leading the way for the Latvia, but to be fair his results were not that much more promising finishing 17th in the two-man and 16th in the four-man.
No reason has been given yet for Minin’s poor drives. As mentioned, there had been troubles with the track on Friday for the skeleton but this could not be used as an excuse for Minins, with the pilots who drove before and after him producing respectable times.