Head coach of Great Britain’s World Cup skeleton squad Eric Bernotas was left toasting a job well done from his troops as this season’s campaign got underway in spectacular fashion.
As the 2014/15 World Cup season got going in Lake Placid, all eyes were on Lizzy Yarnold as she made her competitive return since storming to Olympic gold in Sochi.
And the 26-year-old didn’t disappoint, posting the two fastest times as she won in 1:51.13 minutes, 0.77 seconds ahead of Canadian Elisabeth Vathje.
There was more success for Great Britain across the pond as Rose McGrandle, who qualified for the World Cup with three podium finishes in three Intercontinental Cup races in November, finished an encouraging sixth with a time of 1:52.50 minutes.
And Laura Deas finished in 12th place in the first World Cup race of her career, the 25-year old showing the quality of her push in both of her runs as she was just 0.06 seconds off the start record in her second heat .
In a men’s event that was dominated by the Latvian brothers, Martins & Tomass Dukurs, Dominic Parsons, who finished in the top-10 at his first Olympic Games in Sochi earlier this year, was 14th in an overall time of 1:49.84.
While Martins and Tomass took gold and silver respectively and American Matthew Antoine claimed bronze, there was plenty more for Great Britain to celebrate as Ed Smith, who also qualified via the Intercontinental Cup, placed 18th.
All of which left Bernotas grinning from ear to ear, the head coach saying: “I am very pleased with the start to our racing season.
“It has been a full and important two and a half months leading up to this point, building relationships and firming a foundation in place to build and move forward.
“The athletes and staff answered first race week challenges, stepped up to the occasion and produced with strong form.
“There are super talents in many forms in this squad, I am very pleased to be in that company and look forward to doing my part to continue the pursuit of excellence.”
Yarnold however couldn’t make it a double celebration this week as she missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award to eventual winner Lewis Hamilton.
However Jo Pavey had plenty of reason to smile after finishing third in the voting, the 41-year-old rewarded for a fine year that saw her defy her age and claim medals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
Sir Chris Hoy also didn’t leave the awards empty handed, the six-time Olympic champion receiving the lifetime achievement award.
"It's very hard not to get emotional when you hear amazing words from people you respect and get this amazing reception," said Hoy.
"I never thought I'd see my name alongside Sir Steve Redgrave, David Beckham and Seve Ballesteros."
Dave Ryding had his best ever World Cup result over the weekend, finishing in 17th place in the World Cup Slalom in Are, Sweden.
Moguls skier Ellie Koyander finished 29th in the dual moguls on Saturday in Ruka, Finland, her first World Cup of the season. She will now go on to compete at the Calgary Moguls World Cup in January.
Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young and Posy Musgrave competed in the Davos Cross Country World Cup this weekend. Andrew Musgrave finished 41st in the Freestyle Sprint, with Young coming 58th in the same race. Andrew Musgrave also competed in the Men’s 15km Classic, finishing 69th. Posy Musgrave came 55th in the Women’s Freestyle Sprint .
Elsewhere, Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis stunned top seeds Michael Fuchs and Johannes Schoettler to take the Italian International title in Rome.
However there was no such luck for England Sevens as the men lost out in their Plate semi-final against hosts South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
And England’s men finished seventh at the Champions Trophy in India, avoiding last spot with a 3-2 victory over Belgium.
David Condon scored twice and Chris Griffiths added another goal in the victory, with man-of-the-match Henry Weir admitting to feeling bittersweet come the end of the competition.
“It’s really tough, especially with the good start to the tournament that we had, but I think we all got together and realised that getting this experience now and putting everything into this game will help us to go away from here and learn a lot,” he said.
“We know we can play good hockey and we’ve had some fantastic results against the teams who are now in the top four, but we need to produce our best game when it really matters and that’s in the knock-out stages.
“It was fantastic that I could do a few things to help the team out, but it was all about the team performance. Last game of the tournament, a man down and we had to dig deep to get the result.”
© Sportsbeat 2014