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World Cup skeleton: Reid, Dukurs win gold

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) -- Katie Uhlaender's best wasn't good enough when it counted most.

Despite posting the fastest time in the final heat of the women's World Cup skeleton race Friday, the reigning world champion of the United States couldn't overcome her mistake-filled first run and finished fifth in the season opener.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm hungry. I don't know why, but yesterday it just didn't feel like World Cup had started yet," Uhlaender said. "This three-heat format has thrown me off a little bit, I think. But I showed up today and I plan on showing up in Park City (next week)."

Sarah Reid of Canada won the race, edging teammate Mellisa Hollingsworth. Reid finished the three heats in 2 minutes, 47.70 seconds. She was just 0.03 seconds ahead of Hollingsworth. Marion Thees of Germany took the bronze.

"I had no idea what was going to happen in this race," Hollingsworth said. "This is what I did not expect, that's for sure. Anytime you can be on the podium it's fantastic. This is a great day for Canada."

The race was a three-heat event - the first two heats were Thursday - and only the top 10 sleds qualified for Friday's final heat. American Kimber Gabryszak was 13th on Thursday and missed the cut.

After nearly falling off her sled the first time down the 19-turn layout Thursday, Uhlaender was 12th. She responded by posting the second-fastest time in the second heat and topped the field in Friday's final run, finishing in 55.77 seconds to end up 0.51 behind Reid.

As Uhlaender gathered her thoughts, four members of the women's bobsled team - drivers Jazmine Fenlator and Elana Meyers, and rookie brakemen Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison - fresh from a strong showing in their race, huddled on a bench behind her in support.

Jones is a two-time Olympic hurdler and Madison won gold in London in the 4x100 relay.

"It means a lot," said Uhlaender, who's also in training for the USA Weightlifting national championships this summer. "I train with these girls every day. Lolo and I have bonded because we're both training for summer and winter. This year I feel like we definitely have a U.S. team that has cohesion and is supportive of each other. It's something we've never had before."

Reid beat Hollingsworth by the same margin 0.01 in each heat to win the first World Cup medal of her career. Her best previous finish was sixth.

"I'm pretty excited," said Reid, in her third year of World Cup. "I got really nervous this morning when I was having breakfast. Then once I got to the top and started warming up and kind of was in the environment, I just got really excited and told myself to enjoy the moment.

"It means a ton to me. I've really struggled to break into the top 10. To come out of the first race of the season with a win is amazing."

Martins Dukurs of Latvia won the gold medal in the men's event earlier Friday, edging brother Tomass by 0.08. Alexander Tretiakov of Russia was third, followed by John Daly and Kyle Tress of the United States.

"It feels fantastic," Tress said of his best career finish. "To get out here, build some momentum, have some confidence going into next week, I couldn't ask for anything more."

Madison said later Friday that going forward she wanted to use her married name, Bartoletta.

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