Loelling, Yun win skeleton World Cup races to stretch leads

WINTERBERG, Germany (AP) Defending champion Jacqueline Loelling and Yun Sung-bin of South Korea won skeleton World Cup races on Friday to extend their respective leads in the overall standings.

Germany’s Loelling was fastest in both runs on her home track to beat Elisabeth Vathje of Canada by 0.24 seconds and the previously suspended Elena Nikitina of Russia by 0.25 for her second successive win.

Nikitina, who was banned by the International Olympic Committee for involvement in Russia’s state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Olympics, was initially suspended by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation last month, but it subsequently said the IOC will need to provide more details about its doping-related findings before the suspension can be justified.

”I’m being quite honest, I don’t think much about it at the race,” Loelling said of the U-turn. ”You have to simply acknowledge the performance, there’s no proof (of wrongdoing) and I’m treating her normally in the meantime.”

After four of eight races, Loelling stretched her lead to 54 points ahead of Vathje and 72 ahead of German teammate Tina Hermann, who was fifth in Winterberg.

Heavy snowfall forced the cancellation of the second run in the men’s competition, won by Yun after his first run of 56.62 seconds.

It was the South Korean athlete’s third win in succession, stretching his lead to 64 points over Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

Yun edged the defending champion by 0.06 seconds and Canada’s Dave Greszczyszyn by 0.26. Greszczyszyn celebrated his first podium finish.

Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov, who had been suspended like Nikitina, was fourth.

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