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‘I feel like I’ve let the entire country down’

Friday, February 19th, 2010 | 8:15 pm

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Canwest News Service

Mellisa Hollingsworth of Eckville, Alta., was in tears after finishing out of the medals in women’s skeleton at the Winter Olympics on Friday night.

“It’s really hard,’’ said Hollingsworth, who was touted as a gold-medal favourite, told CTV. “I feel like I’ve let my entire country down. Obviously, my friends and my family, I know they love me regardless, but Vanoc and Own The Podium and my entire federation, they’ve done so much for me. I just didn’t do it.’’

Hollingsworth was second entering the fourth and final heat , but a disappointing closing run dropped her to fifth spot at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The 29-year-old Hollingsworth was a bronze medallist at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and was positioned to return to the podium with one run remaining Friday.

“I felt great,’’ Hollingsworth told interviewer James Cybulski. “It was one mistake — the same mistake that can happen in training. It can happen at the World Cup. It can happen anywhere. But it happened at the Olympic Games.’’

Amy Williams of Great Britain was first in three minutes 35.64 seconds on Friday, followed by Kerstin Szymkowiak of Germany (3:36.20), Anja Huber of Germany (3:36.36), Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States (3:36.46) and Hollingsworth (3:36.60).

The 29-year-old Hollingsworth posted times of 54.18, 54.17, 53.81 and 54.44 seconds. The first two heats were held Thursday.

“I feel bad for Mellisa,’’ teammate Michelle Kelly said. “I was really hoping she’d have the run of her life. For sure my heart goes out to her.’’

Amy Gough of Abbotsford, B.C., was seventh with a cumulative time of 3:37.01. Kelly, of Grande Prairie, Alta., was 13th (3:40.79).

“I didn’t come here to get 10th,’’ a disappointed Kelly said. “I came here to get on the podium.’’

Inconsistency cost Kelly a chance of finishing higher.

“That’s the story of my career,’’ she said. “I’m either really great or really down. I went all out today. I took some hits, but I didn’t care. I’m going to be upset for a few days.’’

Williams won Great Britain’s first gold medal in an individual event since 1980, when Robin Cousins was first in men’s figure skating. Williams also became her country’s first gold medallist of any description since the Rhona Martin women’s curling team finished atop the field eight years ago in Salt Lake City.

“I can’t believe it’s really happening,’’ Williams said. “I think it just proves that if you have the determination, any country can be good at any sport.’’

The men’s skeleton is to conclude tonight with the third and fourth heats. After the third heat, Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., was in second, 18/100ths of a second behind Martins Dukurs of Latvia (2:37.19). Jeff Pain of Calgary was 10th at 2:39.21.

Michael Douglas of Kleinburg, Ont., was seventh after Thursday’s heats, but was disqualified shortly before Friday’s heats after being late for an equipment inspection.

“I got no words for it,’’ Douglas told CTV. “It’s heartbreaking for everybody.’’

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2 Responses to “‘I feel like I’ve let the entire country down’”

  1. Jennifer Dunham says:
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    Melissa…You are still a daughter of Canada and every Canadian. A daughter to be proud of….never forget all you have already accomplished…this is but a hiccup. Onward and upward…or is that downward thinking of the sport you love!

  2. rod mclaughlin says:
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    Hi Melissa. I,m a proud father of two beautiful girls and you could my third. We as a family are very proud of you for going for your dream. Your comment out letting the country down is the furthest thing from the truth. You keep your head held up high and be very proud of the very fact that you are at the olympics fulfilling your dreams where rest of us can only dream of doing such a thing. you havn’t let this family down rather you are inspiring my 25 and 24 year old daughters to go for their dreams. Thank you for being the great person that you are.

    Rod Mclaughlin
    Wetaskiwin, Alberta

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link